Ten Years of the Catie’s Wish Foundation


March 2020

Our Darling Catie,

As I sit and write this letter to you, I am blessed to be in one of your favorite places in the world, the Memorial Garden in the Pavilion at St. Jude.  The fact that you came to love this place is not only a reminder of your battle, but more importantly, a reminder of how you fought that battle and passed it on to all of us that continue to live the legacy you left behind.  It has been a full and meaningful year, and an amazing TEN YEARS since the foundation bearing your name began.  There are times when your battle and passing in 2009 seems like just yesterday, and other times, when your absence is still so tangible that it seems like forever since we have seen you and held you in our arms.  The stark reality is that even after eleven years, we miss you and only the wisdom that you provided in leaving behind your mission keeps us going.  It really is that simple, had you not challenged us and provided us with your wish to eradicate pediatric cancer through prayer and research, we would not be in the good places we are.  You saved us by directing us to make your life have meaning beyond your seven years; thank you!

The Fab 5 – 2011

When we say that it has been an amazing ten years, we are not kidding.  Through your foundation and the supporters who respond so generously to each of these letters as well as our on-going relationship with St. Jude, more than five million dollars and six million prayers have been dedicated to your mission.  In addition, we have been able to help so many families at both St. Jude and Penn State Hershey whose children did not survive their battle with cancer.  Your mom was instrumental in creating the first ever bereaved family Open House at Penn State modeled after what we have done at St. Jude for years.  We continue to educate doctors and nurses to provide better care for patients and families.  We have gifted St. Jude patients with ten years’ worth of “happys” thanks to Candee’s great work.  And we continue to raise awareness and ask for prayers for kids currently in treatment at schools throughout the country.

Yet with all of that, the amazing part is that others continue to be inspired by your story and then choose to help us do the work you left us, (perhaps they are inspired by more than just your story, perhaps you are gently pushing them from heaven!)  Ames contacted us and asked if they could support your mission, Penn State approached us and asked that we help them build their bereavement program.  Your grandfather, (Da), has used his salesmanship gifts to market grapevine wreaths that he makes to raise funds and awareness.  Patient families and their supporters reach out to us as well looking for guidance, support, a compassionate ear, and your intercession.  We know of three cases where people prayed to you and either they or their loved one was healed.  I’m confident there are more cases that we may never know about, and that’s okay.  It’s not about you, it’s about your journey inspiring them to turn to God; that’s the gift you continue to give to us.  The battle continues.  Kids still get cancer every day, it still touches every community, including ours where two local families are in the fight of their lives; and even worse, kids still die.

The Fab 5 Today

The other news that we want to share with you is your impact on each one of us.  Maggie continues to be inspired by the nurses that cared for you and will be graduating nursing school next year.  She also led the Fab 5 on a project to create a grief journal.  It was printed this summer and distributed at St. Jude’s Day of Remembrance.  All of the Fab 5 contributed, with your sisters sharing their memories and thoughts and with Max providing the artwork. It is hard to believe that the Fab 5 were ages two through eleven when you died and are now thirteen through twenty-two.  Max will be graduating next year and will be commissioned in the Navy.  Your three “little” sisters are having a great year.  Mia graduates this year and will head off to college in the fall to study to be a Physician’s Assistant.  Molly will be a junior next year, and M. E. will join her in high school.  The three of them went to the St. Jude walk this September and Mia got up and spoke because mom and I were stuck in Atlanta coming back from St. Jude.  And then the three of them all appeared on the St. Jude radiothon and talked about you and St. Jude.  You really have inspired all five of them and we are so proud of who they are and are becoming.  Your mom is equally amazing and has been honored two years in a row for her volunteer efforts as a fund-raiser and for her educational and bereavement efforts at the hospital.  You changed our lives on April 23rd 2001, and you changed them again on January 25th 2009; and in both cases, our lives have been enriched.  You left us with the words, “continue to do all you can for St. Jude so that the next kid and the next family have a better journey than we did”.  We try our best to do that each day in how we live and what we do.  I have even been blessed with the opportunity to work directly for St. Jude and ALSAC so that I can fight for kids and their families every day, just like you asked me.

We do what we do and we do it to the best of our ability.  We do it with your heavenly support and with the support of many who hear your story and respond.  One of the doctors we have been blessed to work with just published a paper about hope.  We hoped that you would beat your cancer and live and be fully healed and while that particular hope was not realized, a greater hope has been.  Your life and your story has inspired and impacted millions; millions of dollars, millions of prayers, millions of people.  Your journey and the legacy you left behind has and will continue to offer hope well beyond your seven years.  Your legacy, now celebrating its tenth year allows you to live on and to fulfill your mission and the mission of St. Jude; to save the lives of children.

Thank you for your wish, thank you for your life, and thank you for all the times you lift us up.

Love always,



Mom, Dad, Maggie, Max, Mia, Molly, and M.E.


As you receive this, the world is in turmoil and there are more questions than answers and the only certainty for many of us is uncertainty.  We know the feeling.  We reflected on the time that Catie was in treatment and the unsettled feeling that accompanied each test, each treatment and not knowing what either today or tomorrow would bring.  The only way we were able to get through that season was with your support.  As each of us navigate the unfamiliar waters of this season of uncertainty, please know of our prayers for each of you and lean on Catie as a source of strength, of peace, and of support.

God is good, all the time,


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