Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
Her name is Kate and she is five years old but on June 29, 2009 she was plunged from being a normal, well-loved beautiful girl off the edge of a cliff into a seemingly endless abyss. The nightmare began gently, a tremor in her right hand. Within days she was diagnosed with an aggressive, malignant brain tumor and was in surgery at Phoenix Children’s hospital. The surgeon was only able to remove 50% of the tumor because of it’s location and so the chemotherapy began to try and shrink the remaining vestiges of this monster. She is currently facing round four.
I heard about Kate through Twitter. A friend asked for prayer and gave a caringbridge site to learn more. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mcraekate
At first I was heart sick looking at the pictures of this blond baby girl and imagining what lay ahead but it was, Holly, Kate’s mom’s blogs that spoke to me at a level few do. She tells the truth, as much as she things readers can bear and as much as she can write without smashing her laptop into the wall. I have followed them for months and when I realized that I would be in Phoenix for a Women of Faith conference I contacted Aaron, Kate’s dad to see if I could do anything at all for the family. The last thing I wanted to do was add to their burden or be the ‘celebrity’ who shows up for a photo with their sick daughter and disappears into the world where we try not to think about cancer. I told Aaron I would do anything, pick up Holly and bring her to the conference, bring doughnuts…whatever. He wrote back and said, “Just come hang with us in Kate’s room.”
I had never been in a pediatric oncology floor before. It was bright and cheerful but inhabited by children in wheelchairs, bald heads, tubes everywhere and families who refuse to let this demon win. I scrubbed up as well as I could, put on a mask and went in. Kate was asleep and Aaron was sitting by her bed, his gaze fixed on his daughter. We hugged and he called Holly to tell her I was there. For the first hour I listened as they talked about what it is like to be a pastor and watch your child walk through the valley of the shadow of death or a mom and watch your daughters blond locks fall out one by one. For the rest of the time we prayed, we wept and we laughed. Kate is one spunky little girl. Aaron told me that he had taken her to the bathroom, chemo pole and tubes attached, and when she caught sight of herself in the mirror she sang, “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” She is a fighter!
The point of this blog is simple-some people need us to hang in with them for the long haul. It’s easy to rally support for a few days or weeks but when the battle goes on, sometimes we drop off. Let’s not do that here because one day I want to hear that Kate looked at a boy in college and sang, “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?”