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.

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?”


~ by SHEILA WALSH on December 3, 2009.

42 Responses to “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?”

  1. one of the many reasons you are so loved by all. Your Real, your funny, and you truly care about those who are hurting. Thanks or bringing this to my attention.

  2. Thank you for this. As the father of two beautiful nine year olds, it brought both tears and prayer.

  3. Very touching, Shelia. As a father of a daughter with autism, I have no hope of ever hearing those words from my daughter. But that makes me want even MORE for Kate to beat this thing, and for her parents to have hope!

    Praying for a miracle with you!

    • Thank you Scott-your comments brought tears to my eyes-God bless you and your family

      • Very touching Shelia. you know the firt time that went to a Women of Faith conference I din’t really want to go, was in Denver Co. I was in 2004, I was 17 and just married. God use you to touch my heart the day. This past conference in Oklahoma I was in line to get to you but our group had to leave, so I leave the line.
        Well the point is that I hope to get to talk to you some day, you are a Blessing in my life. keep doing what you do for the work of God

  4. One word, “Amen!”

  5. In South Africa we have a word – sjoe – (pr ‘shoo’) for my response to this. It’s a bit like saying ‘wow’ but deeper, more intense. So after that linguistic lesson, my actual point: thanks for the reminder of the importance of staying the distance with people. I tend to be there with grand gestures during trying or celebratory times. That’s not doing life with people, that’s my version of sweeping in like a celebrity. Not cool. Thanks for the wake up call. Praying for Kate.

  6. Kate is an amazing young lady with an amazing family. I watched the Dr. Phil show, I check on her all the time on her website. I pray for her all throughout my day. she has touched my heart very much so. I know there are people all over the world praying for this little angel. GOD is good.

  7. Thank you, Sheila. I am feeling blah about Christmas this year, and your post reminded me to snap out of if and count my blessings…and think of others.

  8. kate is amazing little girl, she has been through alot and has beening fighting this ugly tumor. i have faith in god that he will take care of kate and her family. everyone keep the prayers comming. we love u kate mcrae

  9. Thank You, Sheila for sharing about Kate on FB. That is how I found out about Kate and began to pray and follow her story through the journal entries her parents write. I watched Dr. Phil yesterday on my neighbors t.v. I cannot even imagine what they are all going through, so I pray, because God knows.

  10. Beautiful…I too pray daily that she will be breaking hearts in college!
    Cassie Jebber

  11. I know and love this family and am so amazed at their faith. They are taking a stand to serve our Lord, no matter what and have so inspired me, as well as thousands of others. Thank you for sharing their story and for committing to ‘hang with them for the long haul’! God is faithful! Blessings to you dear Sheila!

  12. I’ve been following Kate’s story and praying for her and her family, as well. I, too, learned about her through Twitter and Facebook, and heard Audrey Assad’s beautiful song about Kate. I cannot imagine what it must be like to see your child go through what this little girl is dealing with. But I am heartened by the outpouring of love and prayer for her … God, indeed, is working through this trial.

  13. The college wish is our prayer for Kate too;~} Plz continue praying for Sweet Kate, of course, BUT also for Aaron, Holly, Olivia and Will…as well as the numerous family and friends supporting this dear family. It really is a family affair. Prayer warriors to the end from this family:)

  14. Sheila

    That’s was a awesome blog! I have been following Kate too and she is one awesome little firefly!!! God has given me such a heart for children and this story just melted me. I never realized how much of a inspiration little children could be to us until I met Kate. U r a beautiful little girl Kate and such a inspiration to us all!! We love u little firefly!!

  15. Aaron & Holly are wonderful examples of faith and love in action. I am so grateful that they give us glimpses into their lives and allow us to pray for their family. May God continue to bless them, because they are such a blessing to others (i.e. Kate’s Crazy Christmas)!

  16. Many prayers from here, as have been since I learned of her on your tweets. Hearing about her makes me think I should just step up more and deal with life better. If she can be joyful, how could I possible complain?

  17. This is not the first time you brought me to tears while at work. I am actually going to blog this week about my experience with you this year which intertwines the McRae’s and WOF. I won’t say more cause I’m getting to be a mess with mascara running down my face and red nose. I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being there in the long haul. Thank you for loving on my Pastor and his family this way. Thank you for going to PCH. Thank you for the gift of WOF to me. Thank you! ~ Carol

    • They need to bring out “Real-Life-Macara” that will stand up on good days and bad:)

      • Cover Girl Marathon! .. seriously though .. Sheila, you’ve been a wonderful inspiration to me over the last several years I’ve been blessed to attend Women of Faith. In the few short months since I signed up for Twitter and began following you and other WoF speakers/staff, you’ve blessed us all with your can-do attitude, love for God, joy for life and openness with your daily struggles. I met you briefly at the Dallas WoF Tweet-up, and was struck by your genuine graciousness.

        I pray for the McRae’s often, usually due to your prompting.

        As my friends’ daughter Kinsey fights a difficult fight to recover from a sudden, devastating spinal/neurological illness (she had surgery today that will hopefully save her sight and motor skills), I often turn to Twitter just looking for an update that will remind me God is in control.

        End of novel, except to say Kudos for the blog changes. Love the dialog!

  18. This story reminded me that although we all have our problems, we are blessed with the little ones that we do have, because our problems could be much worse.
    Be thankful for the life that we do have… all the ups and downs, all the downward spirals that life takes us on. I would much rather have motion sickness that we have with life sometimes, than a sickness that would or could take my life or the life of one of my children.
    Thanks for sharing this Sheila. I will be praying hard for this family.

  19. Thank you Sheila.
    We often focus on the burden of our world, and then we are gently nudged by God. I think of how easy it could have been for this to be made a big deal by you, but you did not. Then you shared with us the reality of Jesus’ words, “When I was in need…”
    God Bless you.

  20. My oldest son is a childhood cancer (neuroblastoma) survivor. Many prayers to Kate and her family.

    PS: My son is now 23 years old and in the US Navy.

  21. Sheila, four months ago I lost my Mom to cancer. (By the way this year’s WOF Conference in Greensboro, NC was tough for me especially when Patsy spoke of losing her friend to breast cancer on Friday evening). My Mom too was a fighter just like little Kate. Even though she knew what she was facing she focused more of her attention on us kids and the grandkids. Her wish was to make to hers and my Dad’s 50th anniversary. She got her wish and died 13 days later. My point in this long babble is that several years ago I heard you speak in Sanford, NC and you said something I will never forget…”even in the shadow of death there is light! You can’t have a shadow without some light shining.” We had those moments with my mom and they were truly some of the most special moments of my life.
    I pray that Kate’s parents will also see those lights and for little Kate the light will get brighter and brighter until that shadow is gone and she gets to pick out her prom dress someday!

  22. Thank you so much for sharing this. I lost my mom to cancer and currently have a dear friend fighting the demon. It brought home so many thoughts for me. After mom was diagnosed we went on a trip – just her, my sister, my dad and myself. We visited another sister that lived 6 hours away from all of us. The trip was priceless! The drive was long, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. Mom laughed, cried, as we all did. On the way home I got a speeding ticket because we were laughing so hard, and hum m, I wasn’t paying attention. I was happy to pay it. Each moment was cherished and still is to this day along with many other memories.
    I will keep Kate’s family in my prayers along with all our other little soldiers (children fighting cancer).

    God Bless you all

  23. Thank you so much for sharing this time with the McRae family. I have followed Kate’s story and been praying for her. She is a fighter and I look forward to rejoicing with everyone when she kicks this thing. Thanks again.

  24. Sheila, Once again,”thank you”. There are no words to convey the significance of the ministry to my heart you provide and the way God uses you for me. I could not even respond to your last blog it touched to close to home as I watch a loved one go through the unimaginable with drs. holding little hope for healing — no drugs are working, no therapy…and we wait for God to bring healing and hope. This same loved one is a young adult who courageously & joyfully battled cancer — had a bone marrow transplant with more complications than you can imagine. Her life was forever altered — but she pressed on with a smile & faith in God. Something changed. We don’t know what, we don’t know why. We wait. We hope with a hope that is sometimes thin. We hurt. But our God is big.He cares.We have to hang on. Thank you for letting God use you to help strengthen some of us who are weeeping but wanting to praise him with all our breath.

  25. Spunky personality that Kate girl!:D “I love to write about even these small moments with Kate..capture her personality..a way for me to remember the things this disease hasn’t taken.” Holly’s journal pulled me in and kept me there! She reminds me of my best friend Debbie who adopted 3 newborns from different families and all are autistic. Holly’s journal entries connected universally: that desperate gratefulness for continued prayer..the chronic-ness of it all..the carving out of special moments..self-sacrifice to exhaustion..the deep feeling for others suffering..hopeful..heavy, so many you’re left bone-dry..dancing!:D Thanks for caring enough for the long haul, Sheila.

  26. Thanks Sheila, for sharing.

    God Bless,

  27. As you are my friend on facebook i have been following Kate’s story every day and am now friends with Aaron on facebook. This beautiful child has captured my heart and I pray with every post on caringbridge for a miracle for Kate. I have also passed it on to my prayer chain of people across the US to pray for Kate as well. Thank you Sheila

  28. I remember when each one of the McRae children were born. I’ve known and loved this family since before they were a family. What you see is really who they are. Precious, humble, graceful, faithful, and absolutely awesome. Aaron was our choir director when he met and married Holly and we have all watched them grow and love them unconditionally. Thank you all so much for caring for and loving them and standing with us all as we “stay the distance” until sweet Katie Bear beats this thing and becomes an awesome testimony to the power and grace of our Awesome Father.

  29. You’re title caught my eye … didn’t know what your blog was about … thank you for sharing this story. I feel honored to pray for this sweet little girl and her family.

  30. Sheila, I didn’t know that you know the McRaes, too. Well, I don’t really KNOW them, but I heard about Kate a couple of days into her cancer battle & I’ve been following ever since, too. It’s ironic that I should get this blog post link from Holly on Facebook today….I JUST posted about you on my blog last night. In fact, a quote of yours is my Facebook status right now! I love how God puts little details like that together!

    Thank you for your ministry, both at WOF and in Kate’s hospital room. You’re a doll!

  31. Sheila, If I had read this a couple of weeks ago, it would have touched me but not as personally. Chris & Ronda Thomas have been at Hershey Med Ctr with their 19 yr. old son, David. He was in a car accident on 11/23 and still has not awakened. Almost two weeks and four surgeries later, they are still trusting God. They have been an inspiration to us.
    What you said about being in for the long haul is what caught my attention. This is not going to be a few week thing…we need to continue to stand in the gap for the Kates and the Davids and be a support for their families spiritually but be a support for their physical needs also. I am in this for as long as it takes and I pray that Aaron & Holly’s family and friends are too. May God continue to bless your ministry.

  32. Having been at the gates of Hell with my daughter, I’d like to offer Holly and Aaron this encouragement: I learned that yes, God does give us more than we can handle sometimes; that is how we learn to truly rely on Him. One day at a time, my Sister and Brother. And put your thumbs in your ears like a moose, wiggle your fingers and stick out your tongue and the devil. It really ticks him off. May the Lord sustain this family, we are praying for you.

  33. I have a 5 year old girl myself. I pray daily for Kate and her family. When I hold my Chloe, I am reminded to pray.

  34. Shelia,
    It was nice of you to go see the McRae family. Holly graduated with my daughter and actually they cheered together in school in Waterloo, Iowa. Holly’s family is still here(her dad is our dentist) We are following this closely here in Iowa and pray constantly for Kate and their family as many, many are doing.
    I saw you and was very blessed at a women of faith conference and I have a couple of your books. God Bless.

  35. One of my biggest fears is that one of my kids will have to go through this. I feel so much for this family and pray for them. Hopefully your words will help rally people around them for the long haul.

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