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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


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
329 people hearted this



Jamie Gerdes
By Jamie Gerdes
Oh sweet Kate! You are always on my mind & in my prayers. You are the bravest, toughest little girl I know and it's a true inspiration. I've followed your story for years & never miss an update on this site. You are loved and prayed for all around the world! Sending hugs from snowy Sioux Falls, South Dakota this beautiful Sunday morning! We continue to pray for your complete healing & continued courage to fight. God Bless!
john & carol giovinco
By john & carol giovinco
Hi PRECIOUS LITTLE KATE!!!:) We continue to FERVENTLY PRAY for you and know GOD continues to hear our plea's for many more MIRACLES to flow your way. You are our HERO, Sweetheart, keep fighting this challenge you have people PRAYING for you and your lovely family from every part of the world!!!:) We are so BLESSED to have you in our lives!!!:) Take care and GOD BLESS all!
Carol & John G.
xoxoxoxoxoxox and a "gazillion" more!!!:)
Diana Leeuwerke
By Diana Leeuwerke
Keeping you Kate and all the family in my prayers and I pray God will Bless you when you have your next MRI scan. All God's grace's to you.x
By Melissa Freeman Louisiana
A welcome update. Bittersweet and hopeful at the same time. It hurts my heart that Kate remained in the hospital so many days without any definite news... bittersweet.
However extremely hopefu her next MRI in December is clear. I pray for Kate, you, her father and siblings.May God Bless each of you. 👆
Brenda Unzen
By Brenda Unzen
Diana Hibbert
By Diana Hibbert
Keeping you all in my Prayers! Wishing you a Blessed Holiday Season!! "Hugs"
Ginger Waggoner
By Ginger
As usual, in the midst of her own suffering, your little Kate manages to think of others. Praying for answers.
Harold Schmidt
By Harold Schmidt
1 person hearted this
Jana Kirkpatrick
Dear Holly: We will be sending a Wal-Mart gift card in the next several days, as soon as we can obtain one. Of the merchants you mentioned, a small Wal-Mart is the only merchant available to us. We pray Kate's Crazy Christmas is a huge success. Our Love and Prayers, Ken & Jana Kirkpatrick, Jesup, GA 31545
Susan Woosley
By Susan Woosley — last edited
We so appreciate the update, for within our crazy lives, Kate's health and journey is always in our hearts. Your family is truly an INSPIRATION to us all, that through all you endear, you are thinking of others!! We Love your family SOOOOOOOO much. Will be sending gift cards next wk. What are Kate's interests? Might love to send her something to..... :)
1 person hearted this