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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


445 Comentarios

john & carol giovinco
By john & carol giovinco
Good Afternoon PRECIOUS LITTLE KATE!!!!:) We are hoping you are having a good Oct. so far and you are busy deciding what your Halloween costume will look like!!!!!:):) I'm sure you are also busy in school and enjoying playing with your friends!:) Take care, Sweetheart, and GOD BLESS all!!!!
LUV U and LOTS of PRAYERS for you too~
Carol & John G.
xoxoxoxoxoxo's for you, Liv, & Will!!!!:)
Julia P
By Julia
Praying for Kate and for your whole family.
michael kuhns
By michael kuhns
Incredibly moving. Prayers for all of you.
Kent Draughon
By Kent Draughon
2 people hearted this
Vicki Rogers
By Vicki
Just enough light for the step you're on!
melody walker
By melody walker
We are still praying daily for Kates total earthly healing!
Charissa McCarron
By Charissa McCarron
Praying for Jesus' plan to move more to Him in this horrible pain that Kate endures. I am unbelievably moved by Kate's perseverance and humbled by her steadfast strength and belief. Hope will rise.
pat smith
By Bill and Pat Parrish
Continuing to pray for Kate's healing on this earth. Prayers for you all. Keep your eyes on Jesus, our Great Physician.
d. holeyfield
By d. holeyfield
Praying for Kate! 🎃
Debbie Haussler
By Debbie Haussler
Praying and believing that God's grace would bring healing and strength!