Good evening Catie Team,

Thank you for continuing to journey with us.  Tonight we offer a prayer for all of you who follow Catie’s Story and Catie’s Wish.  We have had a busy few days as I am sure most of you have had as well.  Snow has impacted many of us and offers the first lesson to me tonight about perspective.  Children love snow, and love snow days off from school even more.  Parents have a different take.  Stocking up on milk, eggs, and bread and dealing with everyone else doing the same.  Clearing the snow once it falls and then clearing it again after the plow closes off your driveway.  Juggling work schedules to take care of the kids that are having a snow day.  Same snow, different perspectives, different reactions.  Whenever I start to feel the weight of life, focusing on my own perception and my reactions to life usually allows me to sort out the really important and put my focus where it belongs.

Things are starting to really ramp up as we inch closer to April 23rd and what would have been Catie’s 9th birthday.  In a very small way, Catie has been letting all of us know that she is still with us as we go through our everyday lives.  In the midst of all of the winter weather, sunsets have been spectacular lately.  I do not remember sunsets being a wintertime phenomenon, but I have certainly experienced a number of beautiful ones so far this year.  I am sure that they have always been there, but again, perspective changes what we see.  The other interesting manifestation of Catie’s presence has been ladybugs.  Again, in the middle of winter, I am not used to seeing ladybugs, but they make a daily appearance and Molly and M.E. in all of their innocence chase them around and yell to everyone in the house that Catie is here.  And yet despite her constant spiritual and potentially insect presence, Catie is not physically here and that still causes pain.  We read about and talk to parents whose children are still in treatment or are currently cancer-free and we vicariously walk those journeys and wonder what life would be like right now if Catie’s treatment had beaten the tumor.  If Catie were still with us, she would most likely have partial blindness and partial hearing loss necessitating hearing aids.  The nerve damage to her spinal column might still have her walking with a walker.  The intense radiation to her brain would almost certainly be making school and learning challenging and frustrating.  The growth of her body and her hair may have been stunted leaving her permanently bald and 4 foot tall.  The list goes on.  There are days when we are sure that if given the choice of a Catie here with us, as diminished in her Catieness as she might be would be worth it, just to have her here.  Other days, as we ponder the thought of a lifetime of obstacles, roadblocks, and the prospect of the next check-up and hearing the words that the cancer is back, we believe that Catie’s absence has spared us and her so much.  Again, perspective.  Solace and peace comes from the sure knowledge that we in our humanity cannot possibly make such choices, only God in His infinite wisdom can.  Our part is to accept and go on, believing in God and His promises and knowing that everyday holds the possibility of a miracle.  We need to do our part and pray!!

Today, both Christine and I had the opportunity to talk about Catie and her Wish to a new and ever increasing audience.  I was on the radio with a station in Pittsburgh, and Christine was at the Dillsburg Elementary School where they were having a Dress-Up Day to honor Catie and support Catie’s Wish.  By all accounts, the day was a tremendous success as more people now know about Catie, know about St. Jude, know about the kids who battle pediatric cancer every day.  At the end of the day, more people will have done what Catie always wanted them to do.  Go home, hug your spouse and kids, thank God that they are healthy, pray for the ones who aren’t, and if you are able, support the cause to eradicate pediatric cancer so that the next kid never has to follow Catie’s journey.  In the midst of the joy, Christine melted into my arms and we both cried because at that moment, we would have traded it all for one more day with Catie.

The new website is very close to launch, and it is nothing short of spectacular.  We can’t wait for you to see it and share it because you all helped to create it.  The weight of fulfilling Catie’s legacy and honoring her by starting the Catie’s Wish Foundation is at times too burdensome to carry.  It has caused Christine and me to strain our relationship.  It caused Maggie to wonder how something as positive as Catie’s Wish could cause such grief.  It has even brought us to the point where we wanted to walk away and give-up.  Somewhere out there, your prayers give us the patience to persevere.  Your blessings allow us to see God’s blessings in the midst of the challenges.  You, like Catie, allow us to see the ladybugs and sunsets in our lives.  Thank you for your prayers, please keep them coming.  Please keep letting us know about your difficulties and let Catie know about them as well.  She sits in God’s lap and whispers in His ear the hopes, prayers and desires of those that love her.  If I cannot have her in my arms, I am so glad she is in His.

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

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Mia, Molly, M.E., and always Catie

PS As we are preparing the new website -which will serve as our primary vehicle for spreading Catie’s Wish – we have created a prayer list in the form of a database of all the kids that we are following.  These are the children who have been named in our past post scripts since this summer.  Today there are 92.  Fourteen have gone on to join Catie in heaven.  Fifteen are children that Catie knew at St. Jude.  53 are still in active treatment.  26 children are in remission and are home.  9 have relapsed and are once again in treatment.  4 are praying for their miracle.  Please join us as we prepare for Easter through this Lenten season to pray for these children and those that love them and care for them.

God is good, all the time

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