Visiting St. Jude

Catie’s Team,

 The first time I flew to Memphis with Catie from Harrisburg I could not find my license.  As I located it tucked with all of Catie’s  medical needs – always pack important things together – I cut myself on one of the needles.  Then I dropped several more needles on the floor as I searched for a bandaid.  Even at seven Catie knew having syringes in your luggage doesn’t look too good.

The rest of that trip was uneventful.

 Today was my first solo trip back to Memphis since Catie’s death.  In fact it was my first solo trip in years and the trip began just as my first trip with Catie; with craziness at the airport.  My  magnetic St. Jude pin flew off my jacket as I stepped onto the escalator and swung my bag over my shoulder.  Without thinking “what could happen” I looked for the pin.  Finding it, I proceeded to lean over and down the “up” escalator to retrieve the pin.  Instead I lost my  balance tumbling down the escalator and losing the pin.  I did however get the attention of the security guards.  Imagine the scrutiny I received going through the screening process.

Do these things happen as a result of nerves?  To relieve stress through a ridiculous situation?  Is it possible that they simply just occur with no meaning?

 I thought about that for the next several hours.  I am still not sure why “craziness” is a part of my life.  I try to reassure myself that “these things” could happen to anyone.  Whether “these things” do happen to everyone else or not may not be what matters; what matters is the reaction.  So I tripped, I got up, brushed myself off, gathered my bags and went through security.

 Reactions matter.  The reason for the trip to Memphis is a reaction.  We are still reacting to Catie’s wish; that we do all we can to help St. Jude.

 Today that help comes in the form of joining the St. Jude Quality of Life team to establish much needed assistance and mentors for families whose children will not be cured.

 We have experienced this first hand and we know the pain, the helplessness, the emptiness, and all the many other feelings associated with Catie.  When Catie died, St. Jude had very little support in place for their bereaved families.

 I sat at Catie’s funeral knowing no one who walked with Catie and me at St. Jude were there.  I imagined that their presence would have been a comfort.  Please do not misunderstand; everyone who was present helped all of us tremendously.  It is because of the amazing depth of the support that we received from all who loved Catie that we healed and survived.  Through your love and support, the Catie’s Wish Foundation exists.  You provided the strength and courage that in our grief we lacked.

 We tried over the next few months and years to be there for other families who had lost a child.  We attended many funerals.  Many of you may have thought that we were causing ourselves unnecessary pain.  We found that comforting others provided us with an even greater source of comfort.

As with everything in life there is a reason and a purpose – sometimes it is not known and sometimes it is not realized – then what?  In the case of St. Jude they are a research hospital – finding cures and saving children.  The purpose for bringing your child there is to cure them.  The purpose behind their work is to find cures and save the lives of children.  They do a great job.  However not every life-threatening illness has a cure and not every child responds to the cures that do exist; then what?

 As a research hospital, they did and do what they do best – research.  St. Jude reacted by doing research and determining if there was more to do for bereaved families.  Who better to help them with that work then their own bereaved families.  They are creating what we, as individuals, were able to do for others based on the examples you gave to us during and after Catie’s illness.  We are simply sharing the stories of the loving support we received from you with St. Jude so that they can provide that support to all who may unfortunately need it.

 We will still work and pray for a cure.  The counter for this year is up and running – please login and have your prayers for a cure counted (  We will still continue raising money to fund the research and “pay for the day” on April 23rd.  We will still carry on Catie’s Wish thanks to all the guidance and love we have been blessed to receive from you.

 The work on the Quality of Life volunteer committee began on January 25th (the 4th anniversary of Catie’s death) and will continue for the next two years.  Please pray for us as we work with these families and be assured of our continued prayers for you.

God is good, all the time,

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

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2 Responses to “Visiting St. Jude”

  1. Ruth Bertovich says:

    I was just thinking of you this week. Thanks for the update. Prayers of success for the Quality of Life volunteer committee and as always prayers said daily for the cure for pediatric cancer.

  2. Pam Vampran says:

    Just when I thought I could not love or respect you anymore, you do something else fantastic i Catie’s memory. Must have been meant for this to be “My Catie Day”.. As I read your blog, I realized I have all purple on today! Purple used to be strictly LSU. Now it means Catie is watching over us!
    I know that you all will help many families and are wonderful advocates. If I could go back to that January, I would of had someone come stay with Trevor so I could have attended my sweet Catie’s services.
    We love you all and thank you for your continued prayers.

    Pam and Trevor Vampran