Kate McRae's Journal
Written Nov 21, 2013 11:20amThank you to those who have begun to send in gift cards for the Christmas drive. I love reading your notes, hearing your stories and seeing what you chose to give. It all blesses us. We are continuing to select families as donations come in. I wanted to share a few more of these children's stories with you. I never want this to seem disconnected from the lives we want to reach into. These kids have stories, families, hopes and dreams, and life threatening health challenges, which oftentimes equate to family financial burdens. That's where I hope we can send them a package filled with gift cards to say Merry Christmas and you are loved and thought of this Christmas by many. And yet we hope it will also meet a practical need. Groceries. Gas. Daily items. Or even Christmas gifts if they so choose. So thank you deeply for helping us.
Here's a glimpse at Jon's story...
Jon was always a VERY energetic child, so when his balance suddenly seemed off it caught everyone's attention. No one could have imagined what it was until one day at baseball practice they noticed his left arm just hanging to the side. Soon after he was seen by a neurologist and sent for a CT scan. Brain tumor. And then the heartbreaking diagnosis of DIPG, an inoperable brain tumor.
Jon is an energetic 6 year old little boy in the first grade. He loves teasing his two sisters and making his classmates laugh. He loves baseball, roller hockey, legos and video games. He never meets a stranger, and shows an incredible amount of love to all. He is currently undergoing radiation to the brain in California to treat the disease.
Amy is a fun loving 18 year old. She prefers baking, crafts, hanging out with friends and family and reading her bible fill her time, but fighting cancer now tops the list with an urgency. She was initially diagnosed with a germinoma brain tumor in July of 2012. After radiation the tumor seemed gone. But this past February she lost complete use of her legs only to find cancer cells between the lining of her brain and skull and multiple tumors along her spine. On her 18th birthday a port was placed and chemo was started.
With an unusual courage Amy has said that she doesn't fear cancer. That God will give her the strength to see this through or take her home. But she is believing she has much more to accomplish in her days here, hoping those days will be plentiful. Despite her own unique challenges she continues to put others needs before her own, praying for them when her own needs are so great. Amy is currently receiving treatment in Arizona.
For more information on Kate's Crazy Cool Christmas please go to www.prayforkate.com. Click on "site" and then on the christmas drive link.
Additional gift cards we are requesting...
~gas cards to Shell, BP, Valero, Speedway
~grocery cards to Kroger, Wegemans, Trader Joes, Safeway and Frys
~Dick's Sporting Goods
~Scheels Sports store
(Addtional gift card ideas are on the prayforkate site)
Thank you again for joining us. We will continue to update you on stories and additional requests. And thank you for keeping Kate in prayer as we work out a new brace, an indepth eye appointment and an MRI in 3 1/2 weeks.
Christmas drive... please consider being a part
Written Nov 8, 2013 4:21pmSo it's time to get this rolling... and it's absolutely one of my favorite things during the Christmas season. There are so many families quietly fighting the effects of pediatric cancer. And so we choose this most special of holidays to engage you to engage with them.
For the 5th year, it's Kate's Crazy Christmas drive. We would love to help at least 25 families this year fighting pediatric brain cancers in particular. And we will also be helping some other pediatric cancer families. We found gift cards so helpful during our own journey and so we are hoping to provide these families with a large assortment of gift cards to help with daily practical needs and also for gifts for Christmas if they would so choose. It's a way to let them know that their heartache is recognized. We obviously rely on so many of you to make this happen, as you graciously have in the past. Info for this years drive is posted at www.prayforkate.com Click on to go on the site, and then click on the Christmas tab.
Additional specific requests for gift cards will be listed on journal updates on here. Thank you for joining us in reaching out to these families!
Some additional gift card requests:
Kroger Grocery Store
County Market Grocery Store
Bed Bath and Beyond
** the rest of the gift card requests are on prayforkate.com
Here is the story of one young man you could reach out to help... (in his mother's words)Benjamin (Min, adopted from South Korea), joined our family at age three. We knew he could face challenges due to his neurofibromatosistype 1. This, however, didn’t cause many difficulties during his growing up years, but his Asperger’s (developmental disabilities) did.May 2012 Min underwent surgery for removal of a large, pre-cancerous abdominal mass. Then this November, doctors discovered our now 20-year-old son has has brain cancer, an astrocytoma invading both hemispheres of the brain and spidering as well, affecting his vision, memory, language, and some motor skills to date. It cannot all be removed. He also has an inoperable benign tumor that causes him to be dizzy and nauseous most of the time.We’re now traveling a path we never thought we’d be on, as we help our son until God calls him heavenward. We so need and appreciate your prayers. Thank you.
Written Oct 27, 2013 11:09pm*Some may have read this update last week... caringbridge is having me repost as they are working at getting updates to send to subscribers emails, as that had not been working. Thanks for your patience.
The other week we were back at the hospital for appointments. I miss recognizing faces as we navigate the hospital halls. I miss knowing stories. But so is part of the change of moving. Not knowing.
Kate and I were sitting waiting for her name to be called to meet with her oncologist. I am scanning the room, wishing I could hold the small baby I see. His shunt is obvious with no hair. His skin is so pale. He whimpers a lot. His dad paces the small waiting room, they too waiting to meet with the same oncologist. The mom sits silently on the verge of tears. I selfishly want to ask to hold him. But understand full well that would be creepy, or simply unsavory. Mother bears come out on the oncology floor, and rightfully so. Unable to protect from the ills of cancer most moms (and dads) feel heightened to protect from anything they actually can control. That I do understand, and so I stay silent. And then they leave, I will never know his story. If he survives this cancer. I wish I had known his name. Then there is the boy only feet from us.He too I assume had brain cancer. He can barely speak, barely lift his head.The wheelchair houses his body. His mom is trying to coax words from him. He tries, to no avail. She gently strokes him anyway. The nurse stands by with a gentle look of compassion, fully in the moment. Like he is the only one in the world. I love that. He must be in pain because his skin is so tight it looks like it could tear. I wonder if it’s the chemo. It’s red almost like severe sunburns. I only wish he could have been at the beach. He moans. His mom tells the nurse he just celebrated his birthday. She tries to get him to say how old. He tries. And again. And then something sounds close to 20. I wonder how much he celebrated. And suddenly a rush of memories washes over me. When she was so sick. When she was could only speak simple words. When it took both Aaron and I to bathe her. When I would fall asleep in a puddle of tears, but her in my arms. I ached as I saw the familiar play out around me. And once again felt such little control.
Kate’s name is called so we get up to leave. I hate to sound like I was listening. But I was. So I had to tell the boy happy birthday. Who knows how many he would have. So I simply wished him a happy birthday and said goodbye. Then as I walked away I heard his mom call after me. “Thank you, thank you so much for acknowledging his birthday, and him.” The kindness in her words stung. I wondered if many turned away. Didn’t acknowledge him. Couldn’t handle seeing the anguish so they chose not to look. I wanted to do something, say something, throw him a party, something. Not just walk away. But we were ushered away.
And then I felt that gentle nudge. We could help some. We could acknowledge some. We could love some. It might not cure the ever hated cancer. It might not dry the eyes that keep pouring. But sometimes even just being noticed, or recognized, well sometimes it shines of love.
Some of you have championed these families in the past by helping us give to them during the Christmas season. It began as a way for us to celebrate Kate’s birthday (December 26th) and honor other families facing life changing diagnoses of cancer. We would love for you to join us again this year, or join us for the first time. We will be collecting gift cards all of which will be donated to families fighting pediatric brain cancer this year. Some in the throws of those initial days, and others living out the realities that the cancer left behind. It’s a far cry from a cure. But it’s something we can do. A simple acknowledgment, that we recognize their need. We recognize their heartache. To just reach out and say we care. I will be posting more information in the coming days…. We will be accepting gift cards of all types. But specifics will be posted. Please consider joining us. And if you have a family you would like to nominate please email me at email@example.com. Soon information will be posted at www.prayforkate.com, along with some pictures of some of the children we will be supporting this Christmas season. Thank you for walking this with us.
Mailing address for Kate’s Christmas drive
Holly McRae (please put my name first)
Kate’s Crazy Christmas
PO Box 8457
Alta Loma, CA 91701