Katie’s Story

Site created on August 7, 2009

THE CLIMB - The Katie Hawley story available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel

Prayers are being answered! Above all...continue to pray!Catherine (Katie) Hawley is a happy, outgoing, athletic and very spiritual 9 year old girl. She has always been able to comfortably walk into a room of strangers and ask the first person she sees if they would like to play. At a very young age she led our family in prayer at the dinner table.

At age 4 she started playing AYSO soccer with me (her dad) coaching her. Coaching my daughters was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had as a father. Katie excelled, so at age 6 we decided to enroll her in a competitive club soccer program with the Southern California Blues.

In Jan/Feb of 09 during the Blues run for the California State Championship, we noticed a slight difference in her energy level but dismissed it as her just needing a break for a few weeks. During that time I also noticed her struggling to keep her feet under her. She appeared to labor to get up to speed and she seemed to have lost some of her quickness. Again, I dismissed it due to her recent growth spurt.

In the spring of 09 her club team took a much needed 2+ month break after they lost in the GU9 State Championship game. In this "off-season" period for the Blues, she continued to play soccer for the Ladera Ranch AYSO GU10 Plus team. That team won the championship for south Orange County and the end of season Area Tournament. At the same time, Katie worked out at an indoor conditioning facility.

During the early summer months her club team played in several soccer tournaments. Before the first Surf Cup tournament game on Saturday morning July 25th Katie threw up. About 2 days prior, Katie had complained about some minor but persistent abdomen pain. We thought she might have the flu, but she felt better after throwing up so we let her play. She was just not herself. She sat out during the 2nd game Saturday afternoon only to wake up on Sunday morning feeling better and wanting to play again.

Then the following Monday, July 27th, I decided to take her in to the local Urgent Care facility to get examined. Thank God for the perceptive Physicians Assistant that saw Katie named Michelle B. She just didn't think things seemed right and ordered an abdominal x-ray and ultrasound. The ultrasound showed a "mass" near Katie's stomach area so a CT scan was ordered for the next day. The result was further confirmation of the existence of the tumor.

This was the most shocking and devastating news MaryKay and I had ever heard. We cried during and in between making the calls to our family to tell them. At this point we did not know if the tumor was cancerous.

Another parent on Katie's soccer team had connections into the medical community.  That parent's name is Curt Wasserman and I will forever be in debt to him. Through his actions, and those of our new friend Len Shulman, we were immediately connected to Dr. Cairo in NY. Dr. Cairo is a world renowned leader in Oncology. He was on a speaking engagement in Texas but offered his contact information to us, perfect strangers to him, so he could assist. He guided us to Dr. Marcio at CHLA, who is also a widely recognized "world expert" in Pediatric solid tumors. Dr. Marcio agreed to see Katie the next day, Friday, July 31st. That day, we were introduced to Dr. Stein, the leading pediatric surgeon at CHLA.

On August 5th, 2009, she underwent surgery to remove the tumor that was causing her abdominal pain. During surgery, it was determined that the tumor was malignant. Katie was diagnosed with Stage 3, High Risk, GanglioNeuroblastoma, nodular cancer. The egg-sized tumor growing from her right adrenal gland and the adrenal gland itself were removed as were 2 of Katie's lymph nodes. Cancer remained in her abdomen and she began chemotherapy treatments at CHLA on August 11th under the care of Dr. Araz Marachelian who we have the utmost confidence in.

In all, Katie has had 4 surgeries, 6 cycles of Chemotherapy, Stem Cell Chemotherapy, 12 rounds of Radiation, 5 rounds of ch14.18 and high doses of Accutane. She was declared N.E.D. (no evidence of disease) in December of 2009 and remains that way today.

Life has dealt us this unexpected and incredible challenge.  With your prayers, and God's Good Grace, we will continue to overcome this.  Please keep Katie in your prayers.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Mary Kay Hawley

Katie opted to drive up alone for her MRI yesterday and was home before noon. 💕  

A week from Monday she will have two pic lines placed under her chest, as she prepares for chemo. Katie continues to be optimistic and trusts, in faith Jesus will pull her through this quickly! Keep those prayers coming!

——————————— RIPPLE effect

Let me share how the kindness of God keeps our hearts and minds at peace. Some things I share may be redundant - however I feel compelled to document how His right hand leads us on this journey of suffering.

Three days ago - after I had read that Asa didn’t seek God, but only physicians  - Bob and I called our Pastor and the elders to come pray over Katie.

The morning reading in 2 Chronicles 19 and 20 just hours before they were to arrive, brought hope and direction.

First Jehoshaphat was up against a battle he had  no power to face (similar to us with this cancer). Verse 12 “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Reminding me once again, He’s got this!!

Further down some instructions were given before heading out to war;

 “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but Gods.”

“...bow down in worship”

“....have faith”

Jehoshaphat put together an assembly and appointed people to sing and praise God. As they marched on the frontlines - the Lord set ambush.

So... without me being aware of what was being organized- the evening I greeted our Pastor and the prayer team, leading them into my home, my small group + others ‘assembled’ on my driveway to worship!

As we were praying in the home - the sweet sound of Praise and Worship floated through out the room, like a gentle spring breeze. As this miracle of healing prayer and anointing with oil was taking place, these verses all flooded my mind - bringing all of us hope in the tears! Praise and worship were on the frontlines, preparing the way for the battle!!

Throughout the evening a common phrase was used, ‘ripple effect.’ Many attempted to encourage Katie was the fact her faith during all this is having a RIPPLE effect on those around her. Do I desire a less taxing journey for my girl - absolutely!! However, we will use this pain to continue to bring God glory!

My small group (ladies I have met with, studied with, cried and laughed with) - for almost a decade has prayed over this RIPPLE effect. We came up with a fun acronym 

R - Rise up
I - Intentional 
p - Praise
P - Prayer
L - led by
E - Everlasting love of God

Weekly we will meet at the Town Green in Ladera, where miracles have happened. For an hour we will praise and pray, bow down and worship. Then  we will ‘march’ to a driveway of someone who could use a little touch from God - Praying and Praising over their home! 

Our hope and vision is to witness other pockets and communities doing to same!!

In a world filled with Fear and Anxiety- an unseen war destroying our country, I think it’s time to Rise up with Praise and Prayer to escort in Hope, Peace and Joy through Worship - let’s bring healing to our neighbors!

This morning a few of us are meeting to walk the streets and sing - God doesn’t need a building! We are being safe.

Thank you for your prayers and support! 

Katie has been overjoyed with the cards and sweet gifts that have been pouring in. We will be sharing with others on the frontlines once we check into CHLA!

We love you so much!
Patients and caregivers love hearing from you; add a comment to show your support.
Help Katie Stay Connected to Family and Friends

A $30 donation to CaringBridge powers Katie's site for one month. Will you make a gift to help ensure that this site stays online for them and for you?

Show Your Support

See the Ways to Help page to get even more involved.