Catie’s courage

Dearest friends,

It is our fervent hope and prayer that this update finds you in peace, health, and bliss.

Christine and Catie send the following update from Memphis:

These are some of the highlights that I have witnessed over the last few days. Every single moment, I am amazed by Catie’s courage. While I miss Kevin so much that I physically shake from the profusion of tears that flow from my eyes, I am so blessed with the privilege of being able to be a part of someone else’s (Catie’s) life without any distractions. I pray for all of you who are watching our other 5 so that I am free from all worry and can be here. Thank you so much for the meals, the prayers, the hugs, the hair you brush, the books you read and the love you share with 5 of our sensational 6. At most times, I will not even allow myself to think about Mia (who will turn 6 on July 22nd), or Molly, (who turns 4 on August 2nd), or M.E. (who just turned 2) because if I think about all that I am missing, it will be impossible to bear. I must be strong for all of them. We are all carrying this burden together – all giving 100% of ourselves. God is with us, God is with Maggie and Max as I know they are leading, helping, comforting, and guiding the little girls selflessly.

Catie sheds few tears. They fell when the rubberband pulled her hair prior to having her hair cut short. They fell hen she was told that she was NPO (not allowed to eat or drink) for the 2nd day in a row. They fell Friday morning when the first I.V. failed, when the tape pulled, and when she had to leave me for the MRI. There is so much going on; she never complains. While it hurts to see her cry, I believe it is good for her to release some of what must concern her.

Catie still is 7. She is alone. She has no one but me. She wants to play, run, jump, and explore. While we wait for the shuttle bus to take us home (Target House I) she races a loop and has me time her. Each lap, she gets faster. She keeps trying. After her bone scan, she picked up a ball and played catch with a 1 year old – making the little girl and her mother laugh. Her smile lights up St Jude’s. Everyone that meets her notices her amazing smile.

Even at 7, she knows when she has had enough. She doesn’t want to know all of the details of her treatment or the side effects. “Just do it, and I’ll get better” she says as she puts on her i-pod, (God bless you 1st grade!!).

O’Briens and Closkeys love to entertain and be entertained. Catie loves stories. She captivates people as she tells them about last week in S.C., about how many sisters she has, and about her brother. She tells them about her send-off from Mom-Mom and Da’s, and about her HUGE talk with uncle Sean, and about how fun it was to fly in the plane as it tipped from side to side. I laugh as I think about her eyes lighting up as she meets someone new to tell her stories to for the first time.

Three things make Catie sad; being away from her home and family, eating only one meal each day since we have arrived at St Jude’s, and that we have been so busy with testing that she can only talk to 2-3 new people each day.

Dr Armstrong and I spoke briefly today. He told me that he knew how many people were praying for us. I wondered what he meant, but politely responded, “I know”. He went on to explain that his wife had received an e-mail about Catie before we had even contacted St Jude’s. His family was praying for us before we even arrived here. GOD HAS A PLAN! What more do we need than that, the faith to believe, to pray, to keep going. It is not just for Catie, not just for me or Kevin, or the kids, but for all of us.

May God bless you and keep you healthy, may you be surrounded by those you love, may you rest each night in God’s peace, may God grant each one of us another day to love each other and to praise Him.

I love you all,


On the homefront, the kids and I are doing great. We surprised all of the people who attended the prayer service at St Columbkill last night by showing up unexpectedly. It was great to see all of the people we used to see each week (or daily) at mass and join our prayers for Catie’s healing. The prayer service was beautiful, with great music, a heartfelt homily from Father Keith, and an opportunity to sit in the presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament and feel the peace God calming our fears. Thank you to Phyllis for arranging, and for all of the people who came and prayed with us.

The kids are doing great with Aunt Colleen and Uncle Taylor, and the meals have been great, Thank you !

Funds have begun arriving for “The Catie Fund”, and fund raisers are being planned, thank you for your generosity, we are overwhelmed!

Gifts and cards for Catie continue to arrive as well, I will bring them down to her this week when I go to visit them, again, thank you !

May the peace of God reign in your hearts and homes,


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