Hello friends,

I have now told every single person that is in our address book about Catie as well as countless people that I have met along the streets in Memphis or in the churches. Each time I tell the story it takes something out of me. Some parts are so well known that the hurt that was associated with what occurred has passed. Other parts are a fresh as the day we first heard the words, “your daughter has a tumor growing inside her spinal column and it needs to be removed at once” or the words “your daughter’s tumor is malignant” or the words “we are not sure exactly what type of brain cancer Catie has” or the words “Catie’s tumor is an ATRT” and the most recent difficult piece of news to hear “the sample contained cancer cells in Catie’s spinal fluid and so we need to increase to radiation to her brain”.

Why is it that we become numb to news? Why is it that I don’t scream out in the pain and anguish that I feel physically? What happens to us when we are subjected to difficult news over and over again? We become desensitized.

Every year when Kevin attends the RiteAid Trade Show the highlight for him personally is the Annual CMN (Children Miracle Network) luncheon. This year he listened to the stories and he was not moved. Why? Has the reality of Catie’s diagnosis prevented or overloaded Kevin’s ability to feel compassion or sympathy for other parent’s struggling with their own child’s worst nightmare? In some small way that is my fear, that you all will go back to your lives and even Kevin and the kids will find a school routine and Catie and what is happening in Memphis will be one of those “how did that work out for what was her name, that little girl who had brain cancer? I haven’t heard; she is probably fine.” We need the little girl to be fine otherwise what kind of a person are we to not know what happened to the little girl.

Life gets busy. Life goes on for everyone even here at St. Jude’s. If I miss seeing someone at the hospital for a few days I have missed possible chapters. At this point in Catie’s treatment Catie is fine. She is healthy, other than the radiation. She is eating and enjoying visitors and she is bald. She is even OK with being bald. She doesn’t like being called baldy – just a tip for when you see her. She does agree that there are advantaged to being bald –showers are shorter, doing your hair takes as much time as putting on a hat and you cool off quickly. There are also disadvantages to being bald – your head and neck are often cold, you may have a lumpy head and you must be careful when you scratch because you can cut your head. There are no details that I am leaving out at this phase of the treatment.

That is why all of Catie’s siblings are visiting. It is an easy time. The only change that we have noticed since Catie stopped receiving radiation to the brain is that she needed to increase her medication to 3 times per day. The reason for this is the boost is targeting Catie’s spine which is close to her stomach and this can cause additional stomach upset. When we are in Chemotherapy I don’t know how much information there will be to give. Everyone here speaks a language that I don’t even understand – the language of counts. The word “counts” is always heard. As far as I know Catie’s counts are currently good. Another thing, her blood pressure is good too. Thanks for your prayers.

Many of you write to us or to the person that sent you the Catie’s Story and thank us and tell us that we are inspiring you. While we are glad, we really and truly want something from you. I need something from you and I am not afraid to ask. I want a miracle and I want all of you to help me request just that of God. Regardless of who God is to you, I want you to ask and I want God to say yes. I don’t want Catie to just be a story to you. I want you to adopt her and pray for her as though she were your very own child – she is very dynamic she can handle a huge family. For nothing is more important to Catie or should be more important to any of us than family. Yes they drive you crazy. Yes you can’t pick them. Yes they cause you grief and make you tense and the list can go on, but Danny Thomas has a line printed throughout the St. Jude’s Pavilion, basically it says that any person who doesn’t embrace their heritage (where they come from) doesn’t know where they are headed.

That is why I offer so many prayers to God. I know where I am headed. I would just like to raise my sensational six first and have the opportunity to grow old with my love, Kevin. I also know where I have come from. I know my family and all of you have become an extension of that family. My brother , Sean, and I have a favorite movie starring Peter Faulk called Roommates. In the movie this line is repeated; “Family takes care of family. Done. Settled. Conversation over.” That is really all that is needed by each of us at any time; to know that we will be taken care of by someone who cares about us. That should be our rally cry to God for Catie, “God take care of Catie. Make her completely well and send her home to us.” I need you all to remain persistant, vigilant and sensitive to Catie’s fight. Keep praying for us and we will continue to pray for all of you.

Please remember in your prayers tonight Uncle Joe. He is a part of the Milanese family and he was in the hospital while Catie and I were with the Milanese brothers. We ask God to grant him and quick recovery and return him to his family.

May all of you take the opportunity today to spend time with the family you love, hug them for me and Catie and tell them you love them.

God Bless,


PS – Catie’s radiation treatments have been extended by at least one more day which will delay Catie and Christine’s arrival back home, in an effort to make sure that the radiation has the best chance of success. Apparently this regimen of radiation is being studied on some monkeys in Amsterdam and since Catie enjoys the monkey bars, they want to treat her like one.

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