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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


We sat yesterday over cherries, eating and chatting about heaven. Kate is inquisitive, I love that. She shares what she thinks and then asks what I can add. And then she says, "mom, do you know what my first question might be when I meet Jesus?". I had no idea... "I will ask Him to help me understand how Jesus and God are the same, but different. I just don't totally get it. But I'll ask."  We sat and ate and I was thoroughly surprised by her question. I would have assumed it would have been something pertaining to her suffering. Something related to her life here. And yet, she wasn't in the equation. It was simply about who He was. 

Moments later, she was holding up a new gift for a picture using her hand that had been affected by surgery, and it slipped and glass was everywhere, along with her tears. I knew the tears were more than the loss of the gift, rather the loss of use of her hand. I cleaned up the broken pieces and silently wished I could so thoroughly clean up the pieces that had been broken by disease. 

So maybe thats how the days are, torn with tension. The quiet moments of grace and the sharp moments of disappointment that feel like they cut with every turn. They live in tension together daily. The celebrated and the mourned. The heartache and hope. Hope filled prayers for healing and broken laments for that which she continues to face. And somehow one doesn't cancel the other. 

Kate has her next MRI on Monday. We will not hear the results until Tuesday because of the timing of her scan. They just don't seem to get easier. We will have more decisions to make following this scan in relation to other treatments. But of course her MRI will dictate the course for much of that. 

I stumbled across this the other day and have read it every day since. Reminding myself of its truth.. Hebrews 11:1 now faith is being.... certain of what we do not see. "Our faith must rest on God's identity, not His activity. When you don't know what God is doing, you can find stability in who He is." (Beth Moore, Whispers of Hope)

So Monday we will plead to see His activity in Kate's body, and hope you will too, but our faith will not be based solely on the outcome. Rather our faith will rest in who God is, not only what He does . And we trust He loves, He hears, and He knows. 

714 people hearted this



Christina Thomazin
By Christina
Thank you for sharing your heart. God grant you strength and peace. Continuing to pray for healing!
Vicki Sunderman
Prayers for Kate and family each and everyday and extras for clear scans. God bless each of you. Our hope and faith are in The Lord!
Lori Aragon
By Lori Aragon
Kate is such a 'God's Girl!' How fabulous is her childlike faith :) She is full of Grace and we can learn much from her... Holly, you are a tremendous woman of God and amazing writer! Surely there is a book in the making :) Tons of love and heartfelt prayers going out to your family <3
1 person hearted this
Linda Hart
By Linda Hart
Much prayer for Kate and all of you. God is good
Carrie VerPlank
Thinking of you all and praying for awesome scan results. WE LOVE YOU KATE!!!
Pat King
By Pat King
I will be praying for good results on Kate's scan. She is so precious. She is a child but she's so grown in her mind.
Bonnie Ramsey
By Bonnie Ramsey
The song sung by Babbie Mason says this perfectly: when you can't trace his hand, trust his heart.
Lori Varga
By Lori
He is Sovereign. He is sitting on the throne, exhaulted, high and lifted up. We surrender our prayers for Kate's healing to the great "I am." So much love to you all.
Lori Varga
Tracy Pridgeon
By Tracy n Greg pridgeon
Prayers daily for your precious this many do! Her life has already made such a difference in the lives of so many... I believe it will continue to make one as God leads forward! (please let us know how things are today when you can... Love in Christ! :)
Lovie Wurzell
By Lovie Wurzell
I, too, want to thank you for what you all are teaching us by your example of trusting Him daily and being raw and articulate with your heart and thoughts. Because of your journey, I have grown closer to the Lord, and He is teaching me to trust Him. Praying and love you guys.
1 person hearted this