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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


Aaron's beard is beginning to speckle with grey. I wonder if it's true that stress can accelerate this. If so, the last six years have proved worthy of each new one. We recently passed Kate's year mark. September 4th. Another calendar date etched forever in my memory by the shear pain of that day. We knew at that time it was unlikely she would be in our arms in a year. The thought was enough to shut me down. I had wondered it before. But this time, she was older, understood more, asked more and wept more. On most days it felt unbearable. If not utterly miserable. She slept incessantly when we returned home from brain surgery. The chemo, mixed with the healing process, mixed with other medications, enough to put a grown man flat. And she was a petite, young girl. So she slept much. Slowly she began to acclimate to having a central line yet again, forcing food when it felt a chore, managing mouth sores and vomiting. And trying to navigate the new and unpredictable world of seizures. And the low dark cloud of wondering if or when the cancer might return. We didn't leave the house much. We both lacked energy and found home comforting, if not isolating. 

Not everything was awful. We snuck away twice as a family to enjoy new places and time together. Those days were life-giving. There were days with some of the most meaningful conversation to be had with her. I saw a persistence and resilience in her that I marveled at, and her brother and sister too. It is a very difficult thing to wake most days knowing you likely will not feel well. Often drugged and weepy. But even as she mourned life in the throws of fighting for it once again, she was quick to laugh, and quick to love. I often marveled at her. I still do. 

So here we are a year later. That in itself being an incredible thing. And she has returned to school. Not as she hoped, but it is a small and purposeful step forward, which we are thankful for. She attends half days, until her medication insists she leaves. Daily we have the same conversation on the short ride home. "I just want to feel well enough to stay all day," she says. And I have no empty promises to give. But we cling to the reality it won't always be like this. One day. The unfathomable awaits. And we both tear up a bit, because it sounds so good. But it's not for now. Now is still for fighting the disease, trying to not allow for its return, and do school in the in-betweens. We feel stuck some days.. Stuck in the tension between gratitude for life, delicate life, and frustration that it is still hard life for her on days. 

So the days continue to be written in pencil. Except for the sleep. It seems to be in sharpie. The chemo and blood draws and hospital appointments are as convenient as they can be. In a very inconvenient disease. But Kate, she is anything but inconvenient. She is worth every erased schedule, every morning at school, every drive to LA. She continues to bring joy, and even laughter. Hope and even wonder that one so young can have endured much and you look inside and find the softest of girls. Not hardened by disease. Softened by pain. She loves quicker, forgives often, and is honestly more motivated than I can handle some days. Her eyes speak stories not defined by disease, but strengthened through belief. And one day, no matter how this turns out, we know she will win. She already has in many ways. And so looking forward, some days not to the days here, but rather there. They strengthen us for the in-between. The fighting and enduring the hard. She teaches us well. 

She has another MRI in just over a week. The 28th. For now we continue on chemo indefinitely. And hope incessantly. We are so grateful for you that continue to pray, continue to hope, and continue to be inconvenienced so that you might engage her battle. Often the most of important of things require inconvenience. I will forever be grateful for those who have done so for us.
878 people hearted this



Sarah Gouzoules
By Sarah Gouzoules
Sending lot's of prayers for Kate's MRI. I'm also praying for Aaron's parents. I hope their recovery goes well. Sarah C.O.L.E'S Prayer Team
Tammy Holden
By Tammy Holden
Cheryl Luckie
By Cheryl Luckie
Wish so much I could do more, but I pray for Kate each day. She has become a part of my heart:)
1 person hearted this
JoAnn Mattson
By JoAnn Mattson
Have been praying for precious Kate, since she was mentioned on the Dr. Phil show, and that is several years ago. She and your family have been in our thoughts and prayers, The power of prayer is so great, and has healed so many people. That little girl has uplifted so many people with her bravery. We continue to pray for a miracle for little Kate to be cancer free and be able to attend school.The family is also in our daily prayers, to be able to care for each other and endure all the trials associated with this dreadful cancer . God Bless you forever and ever. Amen love from North Dakota
La Marr Wenrich
By LaMarr Wenrich
There is always hope❤️
I am privileged to be standing in the gap..
Micki Migasi
By Micki Migasi
Dear Aaron, Holly, Olivia, Will, and precious Kate, I continue to lift all of you to our Lord. Holly, thank you for sharing the details of the fight. Kate, thank you for the blessing you are through this battle. Thank you for honoring God through adversity! You are amazing! 🙏🏽😊💕
1 person hearted this
Randy Jones
By Julie Jones
Thank you for your endurance, for the courage and transparency, and for your desire to make Jesus famous in all that you are going through. Praying n South Africa...
Wendy O'Brien
Kate is in my prayers, as is your whole family. Kate has shown courage and an amazing attitude during her battle, and has taught many of us (people who follow her travails) a lot. God hasn't made it easy for her, but HE certainly smiles upon her.
1 person hearted this
Amanda Moats
By Amanda Moats
She's an angel. So inspiring and brave, your whole family. Thank you for allowing us to take part in your journey. I'll never forget the week I spent with this sweet girl because she has impacted my heart forever. Praying and loving you all the way from China. May God embrace you with his love.
tara pakosta
By tara pakosta
oh darling Kate, you've taught us all so much on how to be brave, how to believe and how to go on even when it's hard. I'm so very proud of you and I continue to cry out to God to let you live w long and beautiful life. love, tara
1 person hearted this