Happy Summer

Good evening Catie Team,

 It is our hope and prayer that this message finds you healthy, well, and in the loving embrace of the Father.

 As we look back on the updates and the memories of the past three years, you can imagine the range and depth of the emotions that we continue to experience.  You can imagine them because you have walked this journey with us and we continue to thank you.  Three years ago, Catie and Christine were heading to St. Jude after a wonderful couple of days in South Carolina with Catie’s Grandparents, Aunt Lynn, Uncle John and her cousins.  She had gone through the pain and the not knowing what was wrong to knowing that she had a tumor, having it removed and then finding out that it was a rare malignant cancer that would need aggressive treatment.  She was on the verge of testing, 31 radiation treatments, losing her hair, 2 rounds of chemo, and finding out that through all of that, she was going to lose her battle.  2 years ago, Christine and I and the fab 5 were hunkered down in the mountains trying to make sense of what had happened.  A year ago, even though time had elapsed since Catie’s death, we were struggling more than ever.  Max was falling into a miasma of hurt, pain and anger, and we were coming apart as a family. 

 Last weekend, as we celebrated our country’s independence, our faith and family is stronger than ever.  Remembering Catie still brings a tear to our eyes, but we move on.  Celebrating M.E.’s 5th birthday meant that she has been alive for a longer period of time without Catie than with her. 

M.E. enjoying the beach

In general, we have had a good start to the summer.  4 of the fab 5 are on the swim team and go to practice every morning for a few hours.  Despite some grumbling, it provides them with a good workout, some time to blow off some steam, and a chance to be with other kids.  The vegetable gardens that were under construction when Catie was diagnosed are complete and full of zucchini, beans, carrots, cucumbers, pumpkins and enough herbs to make any meal flavorful.  Each of the kids helps with weeding, watering and harvesting.  They all have their chores that they complete, and it most cases, they do so with a minimum of complaint.  They are generally happy and I find myself thanking God daily that to this point they are doing so well when so many siblings of cancer victims succumb to depression, anger management issues, behavioral issues, and addictions.  Catie is clearly doing a great job of taking care of each of them and while they each miss her in their own way, they all are proud of who Catie is and seek what they hope is her approval from heaven.

Maggie, Max, Mia, and Molly at swim team

 As for Catie’s Wish, it has been twenty-nine months since Catie went home to heaven and left us with our mission.  In that time some amazing accomplishments and blessings have come to fruition through you and thousands of people across the country and around the world.  Close to $3 million dollars has been raised in Catie’s name for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  The legacy wish to commemorate her birthday, April 23rd that Catie first shared with her us has spread and thousands have responded.  Imagine the number of calendars that were colored purple for Catie’s birthday this year, and please ask all those you meet to honor her with that tribute as a beautiful reminder of our beautiful, selfless little girl.

 Catie knew at seven years of age that prayer was an even bigger part of the battle against pediatric cancer.  People responded to this and logged over a quarter of a million prayers in just a few short weeks and the prayers continue to be prayed and counted.  Beautiful stories continue to reach us of families, schools, friends, gathering to pray for Catie’s intercession and an end to pediatric cancer and the hopefulness and unity provided by those prayers and those stories keep us going.  They also keep the families going that are fighting the battle now.  There are still hundreds of children and families going through the journey we walked with Catie, and we humbly ask for your continued prayers for them.  This battle is not yet over, but because of you, we are closer than ever before to an end and a cure.

 We continue to hold you in our daily prayers and hope that this summer is a time of renewal and blessing for you.

 God is good, all the time!

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

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