Friday, February 11, 2011

Kate McRae - A Story to Share

I want to share a story with you...I need to share this story, it has become very close to my heart and for some reason I feel emotionally vested in a story, about a little girl named Kate.
{I worn you in might cry}
 I first read about beautiful Kate McRae in January 2010.  She had just celebrated her sixth birthday, in a hospital in Phoenix Children's Hospital.  I only happened to come across her story while reading my favorite party stylist's blog, The TomKat Studio.   Kim, of the TomKat Studio, had designed special birthday decorations and visited Kate and her family to decorate her hospital room and deliver the many gifts that readers had sent for Kate.  
{read about her visit here}

I was so moved by her act of generosity and I wanted to know more about beautiful Kate.  This sweet, sparkly blue eyed little girl has already gone through what no one should ever have to experience.  She was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in June 2009.  Since first reading about her I have felt such a tugging in my heart, thinking about my own beautiful children, and feeling so thankful that they are healthy and happy and able to do all the things they desire.
A year ago I started following Holly's blog (Kate's mother), and I have cried buckets upon buckets of tears...late at night when I am alone, reading her thoughts and her feelings and the progress of Kate's medical condition.  Holly's strength is astounding and when you read her words you feel all of her emotions and the roller-coaster ride of their journey.  I can only imagine....

{oh so posh photography}
There have been times when I have had to stop reading Holly's postings, it has been so painful to think about Kate and her family.  And yet, it has given me perspective at times when I needed it the most.  At times I feel like I know this little girl (her favorite treats are powdered donuts), Holly has shared so much with the world.  
In early October 2010 Kate's scan came back cancer free.  For the millions of followers to her story around the world it was an obvious relief beyond words.  The McRae family have an intensely strong faith and Holly writes often about her gratefulness for prayers for Kate.

Early last month Kim {The TomKat Studio} posted her plans to create a 7th birthday party for Kate!  She knows that Kate's story has touched so many of our lives and asked for our help to make Kate's day an amazing celebration.  It was the first moment I have felt there was something I could DO to show this sweet smiling cutie how she has touched my heart.
I quickly put together a custom wrapped package I fashioned "a Halifax rainy day birthday package", and shipped it to Kim in Arizona.  It felt so good to put my creativity to work for a child whose smile can brighten my day, with just one picture.  Kim hoped to catch a photo of Kate with her gift from me but it was a little hectic!  
A week ago Kim posted the beautiful photos and details of Kate's Sweet 7th Birthday Party.  It was a perfect party created for a much deserving 7 year old.  I wanted to be able to finish this story with the birthday happy ending, the blowing out of the birthday candles, and making a wish for Kate's cancer to stay away.  Sadly, only days after her special birthday celebration Kate's scans delivered devastating results.  This past Tuesday her scan confirmed that her cancer is very much present.

{vicki lynn photography}

 I read an old posting of Holly's recently:

If you have never watched your child suffer through a life threatening illness it may be difficult to understand the day to day battles that wage war in the mind of a parent. If you find yourself there, not quite understanding, I am grateful you have never had to face that reality. One day we feel encouraged, convinced beyond belief that our Kate will be healed here on earth. That we will see her grow up, that we will proudly stand by and savor as she accomplishes normal childhood milestones that many zoom right past. I imagine the tearful moments filled with such emotion as Aaron would walk our grown Kate down the isle, realizing what a blessing it was to get there. Realizing how many prayers went forth to get us to that day and the graciousness of our God who chose to spare her from this horrific disease.

And then there are the other days, those moments we continually battle against. The days when you wake up with the thick coat of worry and grief wrapped around your heart and seemingly your throat, as it often feels hard to even breathe. Somehow the possibility of facing life without our daughter creeps in and our resolve seems to crumble like sand. Our spirits feel restless and the inability to concentrate on anything feels overwhelming.The world continues on around us, but it is unnoticed by me. For that day, for those moments I am unaware of most anything but her. All I want to do is hold her and talk and watch every little thing she does. I want to store up memories, and yet I know memories are nothing compared to watching your child do those things, pass those milestones. Memories are a reminder of the past, we want hope for the future. 

I hope we can all look at our own families and really see them and celebrate them.  I shared this story because it has penetrated my heart so deeply, so beyond explanation, and it forces me to feel the things I am afraid to feel, all the things that I am scared of....and as I have written this I have cried another bucket of tears.  I am reminded that although I performed one small act of kindness...that act gave back to me immeasurable awareness of all the things that really mean something.  
If you would like to continue to follow Kate's progress please visit
Pray for Kate

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