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


Kate's admission date was moved and we were actually admitted a week early, allowing for a 12 day admission at the hospital instead of 5. We are on day 11. We have thrived under the care of a new specialist, however have yet to gain any definitive information from the admission. Despite incredibly fast weaning from medication, sleep deprivation and various other ways of stressing Kate's body, we have not been able to capture a seizure, which makes the path ahead still unclear. While we are relieved we have not watched her suffer from them, it is also discouraging we cannot move any further towards answers and possible solutions without seeing one. Its complicated, but as of now, she will not be a surgical candidate. She is  disappointed, as she wanted resolution, clarity and freedom from medication. We continue to pour over options with her specialist and contemplate all angles. If we do not acquire any more information in the next day we can always be readmitted at a later date to undergo the testing again. We continue to pray that the right doors will open for the best treatments for Kate that can recapture her quality of life, and eliminate any unnecessary medication. So while we feel extremely mixed about the last 10 days, we will continue to weigh out options and fight for her in every way we know to. This phase of testing didn't give the expected results, however, we are pleading that even better options will arise out of the disappointment. And for the first time yesterday new information started to give way to extraordinary hope that maybe there is a far easier and better way. For now we continue to wait and see. And pray in all of that in-between.

Yesterday morning after being allowed only 4 hours of sleep she slipped her arms around me and said, "thanks." Nothing else. But the long days and nights melted away knowing she knows our love for her. And that she doesn't fight alone. Thank you to those who have fought with her this week and last, and in reality for years. We simply say, "thanks."  Meanwhile, we will all enjoy being back in our beds and no longer sleep depriving Kate on Friday. 

Kate also begins her next chemo cycle on Friday and, as of now, will have her next MRI on December 7th. She is a tad weary of it all. 6 1/2 years is a long time, especially when you're 11. But just when we think she can't handle one more thing, she surprises us. And at 4 in the morning after a week of disappointing, she's watching a movie and laughing. And we soak it in as fast as we can. And thank God for momentary relief. 

We have had much time, being in one room for 10 days, to anticipate Kate's Christmas drive. Kate is desiring to reach 30-50 families this year. But this requires your generosity towards these families. We are targeting those fighting pediatric brain cancer who are struggling with a new diagnosis, financial strain, end of life grief, and various other of the compounding needs and struggles that often accompany a diagnosis. We compile a package of relevant gift cards for each family to assist with gas, groceries, long hospital stays and Christmas gifts if they desire. How you can help Kate.... 
Please send in gift cards in any amount that she will resend to the afore mentioned families. Our hope would be to supply them with $1000 worth per family. This is however ultimately determined by what is collected. Our greatest need currently is for Target, gas and grocery gift cards. All are welcomed, but we like to supply each family with these specifically. Thank you! We are grateful for you assisting Kate in this endeavor that is so close to our hearts. And for showing these dear families they are loved this Christmas. It is something we can do! Please consider joining us...

Please send gift cards to:
Kate McRae or Holly McRae
Kate's Crazy Christmas
PO Box 8278   Alta Loma, CA 91701

Gift card ideas... *Target, Wal- mart, Toys R Us, *Shell Gas, *ARCO gas station, Chevron gas station, BP gas station, Vons grocery, Albertsons grocery, Amazon
*indicates great need for particular gift cards ~ more will be added in the coming days
337 people hearted this



Tim Wilhite
By Tim Wilhite
Holly, are Wal-Mart cards appropriate for the Christmas donations?
Andrea C.D.
By Tere
Have you heard about a medication called Fosfoetanolamina? It's a substance developed in an university in Brazil and it had cured hundreds of people with uncured cancer. It's still not legal, it can't be saled and many people are going to the court to have the right to take the medication. The University says not able to produce that many pills tho. And no one can explain why the inventor od Fosfoetanolamina are not making any efford to legalize it so it could be produced by a large lab to attend the demand.
Renee Dobzyniak
By Renee Dobzyniak
Praying always for sweet Kate💜
David Gallagher
By David Gallagher
Continued prayers for Kate and each of you as you wait for answers.
By rl
not sure if this would be at all helpful, but i met a very interesting, humble guy recently with an awesome testimony of healing himself, from his website, it seems like there are many people healed through this fairly humble person, great thing is that he's local! if interested www.hopeinchrist.com he leads the hope ministries of healling, so many testimonies there, most were skeptics but received miracle healings; don't want to give false hope to an already weary fight or if God choose not to heal to dampen kate's spirits, but again he seems very nice and genuinie and his physical and spiritual healing himself was very extraordinary as well. in his healing he saw Jesus, he just remember the eyes, it was deep felt like a river of overflowing love that he could not describe. he was healed from being in a coma to paralzyed to being able to walk with full function practically now he is in full time self support healing ministry... pray about it... he believes in the power of the holy spirit very much.
1 person hearted this
Lori Aragon
By Lori Aragon
Such a long and weary fight... Praying for continued strength for your entire family! Kate, you are dearly LOVED!!! May Jesus continue to wrap His loving arms around you, holding Him close to you and melting away the stress <3 xoxo xoxo xoxo
john & carol giovinco
By john & carol giovinco
Hi PRECIOUS LITTLE KATE and Family, We want to wish you an early VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING filled with lots of LOVE and good food too!!!!:) GOD BLESS all!!!
Carol & John G.
Tina Dahl
By Tina Dahl, Chico, CA
Kate-Your ability to care and think of others as you face your own difficult path is just so admirably...words escape me how such a young person can have so much empathy and strength.....I'm continually blown away by you. I will happily send a gift card and also send you tons of love and support. You make the world better by just being in it Sweet Kate!! Love from Northern California!