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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


When we found out Kate had relapsed for the second time we were no strangers to the implications it brought. An almost always fatal disease. Almost always. It's something we go to sleep to and wake to daily. Today we had 6 month scans since her relapse. It brought a tremendous amount of emotion. I couldn't hide the tears as she was prepped for her scan. The nurse quietly slipped me a box of kleenex. Today Aaron sat in the room with her during her scan and I waited rather impatiently in the waiting room. Putting the kleenex to use. We had talked even today, Kate and I, about if Jesus would take her home. Now the thought alone in the waiting room felt unbearable. And yet again and again I have had to relinquish control of that which I actually don't control anyway. My sweet middle girl. 

After finding out we would likely not get results until tomorrow we went for lunch. Tear stained and tired. And then I got a message...."call me". It took my breath. And we were all immediately concerned as to the reasons her oncologist was contacting us so quickly. I slipped out of the restaurant. Found a quiet place on the street. And told Jesus he would need to rescue us from the restaurant if the results were bad. Jesus help. Now please. 
"Hey" it's about all I could utter. "It's Holly". And then I closed my eyes and sat down. "It's fine. It's ok... They didn't see anything". She was calling to share the good news, not the devastating. We had more time. I ran in the restaurant and cried again. 

And so we celebrate the temporary relief. We hope for permanence to the healing. We long for it. Pray for it. And yet we wrestle to learn how to live in the in-between. With the wrestlings of brokenness. With the hope of eternity. Thank you for joining us in the wrestlings of prayer. We are grateful for your love and concern for Kate. She is worth the war on our knees. 

We follow up on Wednesday at the hospital to discuss the results, treatments and current side effects she is struggling with. For tonight we hold her close. And say thank you. 

1,164 people hearted this



Josie Kinnear
I Continue to pray for Sweet Kate...and for you and your family. God is with you and so are we. Blessings always!
Marcia James
By Marcia James, Jamestown,NC
Hi, I have followed Kate's progress from the beginning and always pray for her and your precious family. I'm sure you have heard about the promising new treatment at Duke that inserts the polio virus into a brain tumor in order to jump start the immune system and cause it to fight cancer cells. Results have been amazing! Did you see the story on 60 minutes? I hope this is a turning point in the fight against cancer.

Take care and hold tight to God's ever present love and grace.
Linda Wilson
By Linda Wilson
So thankful for such good news. Will continue to pray for your Kate.
Shari Judd
By Shari Judd
WOW...please check out the video from Sixty Minutes this past
Sunday about Duke !! possible hope and I immediately thought of Kate. I see the link already here. Prayers continue!
john & carol giovinco
By john & carol giovinco
Good Morning PRECIOUS LITTLE KATE and PRECIOUS Family, We hope this week is off to a good start AND to wish all of you a HAPPY & HOLY EASTER......GOD BLESS!!!
Carol & John G.
EASTER xoxoxoxxoxoxoxxoxox for you, Wil, & Liv!!!:)
Liza Coutu
By Liza in Raleigh, NC
I have been praying for your family for years now. I just finished watching a video that is the first in a series of 11 that talks about natural treatments. I hope you'll be able to watch it. I'm hoping the timing is God's--that He brought you to mind as I was watching it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc1rtIxvkao
Sarah Longoria
By Sarah — last edited
Just came across this exciting announcement, which I'm guessing you'll hear about, but it specifically relates to curing brain tumors with the polio virus, it's research out of Duke University. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/polio-cancer-treatment-duke-university-60-minutes-scott-pelley/
1 person hearted this
lois thompson
By lois thompson
Have you and your doctors investigated the Duke University research using the polio virus!? It has put patients in remission...and tumors have gone away.
1 person hearted this
Laura Shelton
By Laura Shelton
I'll keep my fingers crossed that your little one continues to hold her own and improve. We are making these great strides in science and medicine, perhaps one day research will put an end to this ugly disease. Stay strong.
Janet Jones
By Janet Jones
Much love and prayers coming your way, God Bless