CaringBridge Needs Your Help

Make a gift to CaringBridge in honor of Katie and you’ll help even more people surround each other with love and support this holiday season. Donate Now

Katie’s Story

Prayers are being answered! Above all...continue to pray!Catherine (Katie) Hawley is a happy, outgoing, athletic and very spiritual 9 year old girl. She has always been able to comfortably walk into a room of strangers and ask the first person she sees if they would like to play. At a very young age she led our family in prayer at the dinner table.

At age 4 she started playing AYSO soccer with me (her dad) coaching her. Coaching my daughters was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had as a father. Katie excelled, so at age 6 we decided to enroll her in a competitive club soccer program with the Southern California Blues.

In Jan/Feb of 09 during the Blues run for the California State Championship, we noticed a slight difference in her energy level but dismissed it as her just needing a break for a few weeks. During that time I also noticed her struggling to keep her feet under her. She appeared to labor to get up to speed and she seemed to have lost some of her quickness. Again, I dismissed it due to her recent growth spurt.

In the spring of 09 her club team took a much needed 2+ month break after they lost in the GU9 State Championship game. In this "off-season" period for the Blues, she continued to play soccer for the Ladera Ranch AYSO GU10 Plus team. That team won the championship for south Orange County and the end of season Area Tournament. At the same time, Katie worked out at an indoor conditioning facility.

During the early summer months her club team played in several soccer tournaments. Before the first Surf Cup tournament game on Saturday morning July 25th Katie threw up. About 2 days prior, Katie had complained about some minor but persistent abdomen pain. We thought she might have the flu, but she felt better after throwing up so we let her play. She was just not herself. She sat out during the 2nd game Saturday afternoon only to wake up on Sunday morning feeling better and wanting to play again.

Then the following Monday, July 27th, I decided to take her in to the local Urgent Care facility to get examined. Thank God for the perceptive Physicians Assistant that saw Katie named Michelle B. She just didn't think things seemed right and ordered an abdominal x-ray and ultrasound. The ultrasound showed a "mass" near Katie's stomach area so a CT scan was ordered for the next day. The result was further confirmation of the existence of the tumor.

This was the most shocking and devastating news MaryKay and I had ever heard. We cried during and in between making the calls to our family to tell them. At this point we did not know if the tumor was cancerous.

Another parent on Katie's soccer team had connections into the medical community.  That parent's name is Curt Wasserman and I will forever be in debt to him. Through his actions, and those of our new friend Len Shulman, we were immediately connected to Dr. Cairo in NY. Dr. Cairo is a world renowned leader in Oncology. He was on a speaking engagement in
Texas but offered his contact information to us, perfect strangers to him, so he could assist. He guided us to Dr. Marcio at CHLA, who is also a widely recognized "world expert" in Pediatric solid tumors. Dr. Marcio agreed to see Katie the next day, Friday, July 31st. That day, we were introduced to Dr. Stein, the leading pediatric surgeon at CHLA.

On August 5th, 2009, she underwent surgery to remove the tumor that was causing her abdominal pain. During surgery, it was determined that the tumor was malignant. Katie was diagnosed with Stage 3, High Risk, GanglioNeuroblastoma, nodular cancer. The egg-sized tumor growing from her right adrenal gland and the adrenal gland itself were removed as were 2 of Katie's lymph nodes. Cancer remained in her abdomen and she began chemotherapy treatments at CHLA on August 11th under the care of Dr. Araz Marachelian who we have the utmost confidence in.

In all, Katie has had 4 surgeries, 6 cycles of Chemotherapy, Stem Cell Chemotherapy, 12 rounds of Radiation, 5 rounds of ch14.18 and high doses of Accutane. She was declared N.E.D. (no evidence of disease) in December of 2009 and remains that way today.

Life has dealt us this unexpected and incredible challenge.  With your prayers, and God's Good Grace, we will continue to overcome this.  Please keep Katie in your prayers.

Latest Journal Update


I apologize if it felt like I left you hanging regarding what's next. It has been such a frustrating few weeks, I just wanted to put 'cancer' out of my head and focus on Christmas.
Our family is still holding on to the miracle that Katie was healed!

 I am sure you have all heard the story of the man sitting on his roof after a flood praying to be rescued, a boat comes to him and the man on his roof says, "no, I'm good, I prayed for God to rescue me.", then a helicopter comes around and yells down, 'grab the robe' and the man yells back, "nah, I'm good I've prayed for God to rescue me. When the guy finally drowns, he asks God, "why didn't you save me??" God replied, "who do you think sent the boat and the helicopter." Though I believe the spot that 'was' there and now is gone, was the hand of God, I also believe that He provides physicians and treatments that will continue to keep her alive. Katie is IN His hands!! Doing more therapy is NOT an indication that my faith is weak, but that the Lord will direct us on the path we should go with her. Prayer for wisdom would be great.
As of now, no decisions have been made. Katie and I will go to CHLA on Thursday to have a discussion with Dr. Araz. Araz was suppose to be communicating with Sloan and helping them read the latest MIBG scans, so I don't know if any new path of preventative treatment has been mapped out for us. I don't know if we will go back to New York, or Texas or China (ok, not China... but you know what I mean)?? Bob mentioned putting Katie back on oral chemo??.... but I won't do that to her. Prayer for wisdom would be great.
Katie has been experiencing different pains, in her knee and ankle? We try to reassure her that it's nothing, but sometimes when she's tired and has had a long day,  fear takes a hold of her, which leads to tears/depression. Most days she is ok.. tonight was just a hard one. Nothing I said seemed to bring her any relief from her sadness. 14 is such a hard age!!  Prayer for wisdom would be great!
Bob and I want to thank you ALL again for helping us out with GoFundme... We used a little over half to help with our last two trips to New York. The rest has been set aside for our future travel. It took such a financial burden off our shoulders. So thank you for sacrificing and helping us out. It means so much to us!! Thank you, thank you!!

Katie and I tried to pay it forward this Sunday, we made breakfast  and went to help out at a Motel Church. It's a church for the working poor, who are trying to get off the streets and allowed to stay at the motel on a week to week basis. Seeing a young couple with a child, pushing two grocery carts full of clothes, toys and a broken down crib, broke our hearts. Katie asked a few of the children what they wanted for Christmas, a little seven year old girl asked for clothes, (not toys), which made us think maybe she wears the same clothes to school all the time and gets made fun of? So Katie and I went to Khols and bought her a few really cute outfits... and some toys! Next Sunday we'll bring the wrapped gifts up to give to the parents, so they will have something for the little ones to open up on Christmas morning.
As we live in limbo, and have a couple days left, to catch our breath. I ask you would continue to pray for a cure! Pray that these doctors would find the answers to help all these children and families who live with this nightmare and fear, and side effects... both physical and physiological every day. Even though we try to 'put it out of our heads', it's always there lurking in the shadows. ha.. that sounded a little 'woe is me' - I suppose I have a little 'woe is me' in me right now. Tomorrow is a new day, I am sure joy will come in the morning.
I will update as soon as we know our next step.
Much love,
MK, Bob, Melanie and Katie

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen – Jude 1:2-5 (NIV).

How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? – 1 Thessalonians 3:9 (NIV).

24 people hearted this



Eileen Gibson
By Eileen
I love what you were able to serve with her!! What a neat, neat experience! My friend, none of us know what we would do in your situation but we do know that you are an amazing, Godly mama who seeks and loves the Lord with all your heart. Katie is is in His hands and he has and continues to do mighty works in her!!!
2 people hearted this
Gail Doyle
By Gail Doyle
Prayers for Kate and good luck at Drs God is with you all A Christmas. miracle Love Gail
2 people hearted this
samantha rodriguez
By Samantha
We will forever pray our hearts out for Katie and your family🙏🙏
All of our love❤️🙏❤️🙏
2 people hearted this