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Kate’s Story

Thank you for following our daughter Kate's journey. We ask for your prayers during this incredibly difficult time.

Monday June 29th, 2009 was supposed to be a day filled with summer fun. The kids and I were going to the water park to celebrate summer. However, I noticed that a slight tremor in her right hand that had developed over the past few days had notably worsened. We decided to take her to her Pediatrician, just for safe measure. A CT of Kate's head was ordered. We proceeded to Phoenix Childrens Hospital for a stat CT of her head. That evening I, Kate's mom, was taken into a room alone and told Kate had a large tumor on the left temporal lobe of her brain. The world seemed to stopped for us that day, but our long journey had just began. Kate was directly admitted to the PICU. One minute thoughts of the water park the next our child is critically ill in the intensive care unit awaiting emergent brain surgery within a matter of days.  We would have never chosen to be a part of this journey with childhood cancer, but it was chosen for us, and our sweet Kate. She is now in the Phoneix Children's Hospital undergoing treatment for this disease.

Kate underwent a craniotomy with tumor resection on July 3rd, 2009. They unfortunately were only able to remove 50% of the tumor due to it's location in the left temporal lobe of her brain and the fact that the tumor had wrapped itself around the left middle cerebral artery to her brain. Kate experienced right sided paralysis immediately following surgery along with the loss of her speech. She has since regained much of this, however her right sided weakness still continues. 

After a few days of intense waiting the pathology report was in, Kate was diagnosed with a very malignant, aggressive brain tumor called a supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor or sPNET. Our hearts felt broken. Long term prognosis and outcomes weren't encouraging so Kate has been put on a study that is showing a little more promising outcomes, hopefully a better chance at survival and less long term side effects. She is currently undergoing the Head Start 3 Study out of Los Angeles but doing it at Phoenix Children's Hospital. The study involves the initial brain surgery, 5 round of very intense chemotherapy with possibility of a subsequent brain surgery and then another round of chemo with a stem cell transplant. We are hoping to avoid radiation after transplant. Kate is also in physical therapy and occupational therapy and has been released from speech therapy.

We believe strongly in the power of prayer and the ability of Jesus to heal our precious daughter. We are asking others to join us on this journey and fervently pray for our Kate. The road is long and unbelievably hard. We have 3 children, all who are intensely affected. Olivia is now 7, Kate is 5 and Will is 4. Please keep all of us in your prayers as we try to walk this journey of childhood cancer. Thank you. 

As of September 29th Kate was readmitted to begin her 3rd round of chemo. She will be hospitalized for the entire round.

January of 2010 Kate finished her 5th round of chemotherapy. Her subsequent MRI showed there was still residual cancer remaining. She was then admitted on February 8th for her "consolidation" phase of chemotherapy with an autologous stem cell transplant. This equated to 1 years worth of chemotherapy in 6 days.

Due to the residual cancer prior to transplant Kate then needed to undergo brain radiation. We temporarily moved to Houton, Texas for 2 months so Kate could undergo 31 treatments of proton beam radiation to the tumor bed.

Kate finished radiation on May 24th, 2010 which finished her treatment for the Head Start 3 Study. June 29th, exactly one year from her diagnosis, Kate had her first MRI post treatment which was inconclusive. She followed it with a PET scan one month later which showed no definitive signs of cancer! 13 months of prayers. And one scan showing no cancer!

Kate had another scan early September 2010 which again left us guessing. There was a new spot that appeared on the MRI. We are currently waiting for another MRI to see if this is merely treatment changes, vascular changes etc, or the return of cancer.

On February 1st, 2011 a routine MRI discovered that the brain cancer had indeed returned and metastasized. Options for treatment were few. And the prognosis was awful at best. Few ever survive its return. And yet.... we continue to pray for healing. 

Please continue to pray as we journey alongside our daughter.

Latest Journal Update


Oh my sweet girl. She has struggled. She had one wonderful week full of reprieve, adventure and laughs. We soaked it in. And savored each day. Since then the last 5 weeks have been hard. She has not been in pain daily, rather in the vicious struggle with medications, vicious fatigue, discouragement and side effects. It seems each day has been trouble shooting the trouble for that day. A new form of subtle seizure started for which we can get no answers or reprieve, even after a short hospital admission. We have tried this that and the other. To little avail. We are in the process of potentially trying something different altogether. 

She is still gentle, beautiful and full of life. The life is just trapped as of late. 

We return to the hospital today for platelets and likely red blood cells also. Her tank is low. She also has her MRI in only 2 1/2 weeks. It will be more extensive this time. 

I just wanted to say something, for those of you have thoughtfully inquired. Sometimes words are just hard to come by. Grateful for love and prayers for Kate. Thank you for not forgetting in these long years. 

Psalm 143:1 LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.
828 people hearted this



Lovie Wurzell
Holly, words ARE hard to come by, but please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers. I have been in Bible Study Fellowship this year, studying Moses. It has been a difficult study for me, but so good. One of the things our teaching leader said that has resonated with me is that the Israelites were living in a miracle and didn't realize it. I hope that will resonate with you all. Even just the fact that through your blogging as you share your heart and the heart of your sweet loved ones, you are helping so many others to have faith and continue to trust the Lord no matter what. He holds you, He's got matter what...thank you for sharing your heart. Still praying for healing and peace that passes understanding.
Deborah Ray
By Deborah Ray, Mississippi
Kate and y'all are in my prayers. Praying for healing and for God's peace and mercy to be evident.
Barbara Stout
By Barbara Stout
Always praying. Our love to each of you, Barbara and Jerry
Patti Waddell
By Patti Waddell
My thoughts and prayers are with you so often. Cannot imagine going through this, especially with my child. Thank you for the updates. Know that is not easy. Love, prayers, and hugs to you all.
Jordan Kuban
By Jordan
Oh no, we will not forget. We are as with you as were able (through the screens). Interceding always...not inquiring out of just wanting to know...but because weve grown to love your family!
Cheryl Luckie
By Cheryl Luckie
So glad to hear from you as I think of Kate almost daily. Still praying for her every day and wish I could do more. That sweet baby girl is so strong and her determination and grit are so commendable. Sending love to you all.
Jan Buchholz
I doubt whether any family has ever impacted me the way you have. I am humbled beneath a rock of unworthiness. But I lift dear Kate up and trust that our Redeemer advocates for us daily and will explain it all eventually. You boggle my mind. All of you. Totally beyond my comprehension, precious people.
Vicki Sunderman
Kate has been and will be in my prayers each and everyday - always!

Praying for no seizures, clear scans, pain-free as possible and for her parents and brother and sister too.

God bless you all!
john & carol giovinco
By john & carol giovinco
Good Afternoon PRECIOUS LITTLE KATE!!!:) We are thinking of you and sending lots of LOVE & PRAYERS for you and topping them with lots of xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxooxxoxoxoxoxox's!!!!!:) GOD BLESS all!
Carol & John G.