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This fundraiser ended on 06/01/12

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Family & friends of Katie & Kathy want to help as this daughter & mother cope with cancer and a brain aneurysm. Your support is appreciated!

The Family:
Kathy, mom and former Director of Protocol Operations in Cancer Research, recovering from the rupture of a giant aneurysm in March 2010.

Katie, recent college grad and accepted into medical school. Currently undergoing treatment after her cancer relapsed in January 2011.

Joe, full-time husband & father, caregiver, software designer, sole family breadwinner.

Joe, the younger, full-time 3rd year student majoring in political science and psychology.

The Story:
Katie was one of Kathy's main caregivers when she went in for a check-up in January 2011. After being cancer free for six years, Katie's Wilms Tumor was back. Kathy was 10 months into recovery from a giant (level 4) aneurysm that ruptured in her brain.

Kathy got Katie through the first bout of cancer, diagnosed at age 16. Who would get her through the second bout? Katie's dad Joe is now the full-time healthcare coordinator and the family's only wage earner, while the bills pile up and loans need to be repaid. Katie's brother Joe is a great help when he is home from college, and when not working his summer job he is like the family chauffeur with an even-tempered attitude and good sense of humor. Kathy's siblings, in-laws, and army of friends help out in ways large and small, but the financial bite is deep and long term. Last year’s out-of-pocket medical expenses were over $26,000. This year is likely to be the same.

Katie is trying to get her strength back after her second round of chemo, stem cell transplant, and two weeks of hospital isolation. The next step is radiation therapy to the tumor bed and her lungs. She is looking forward to the start of med school, projected start date August 2012. Katie has shown remarkable calm & courage through these many months of treatment, wondering, and waiting for results.

I took Kathy to Physical Therapy and her progress is heart-warming, but to regain function in her right side and to continue to move forward in speech we are in for the long haul. Insurance payment for therapy looks like it is coming to an end; Kathy and all of us working with her know that she will continue to need professional rehab. What she is working on now is core strength and fall recovery [recovering from a fall]. It is indeed a long road, filled with daily challenges & unexpected obstacles. Kathy’s determination to come back from this life-altering aneurysm amazes us and brings tears of gratitude for all the excellent medical care as well as the wonderful caring of friends & family over these many months.

Recently, Joe was on a 2-hour conference call immediately after returning from Katie's platelet transfusion at the hospital. We had to quietly shuttle in hot coffee to his office. He would be getting up at 3 am to be online for work-related duties. He was heading for bed when he remembered, the dog needs a bath, but most important, it is time to do the double PIC line maintenance for Katie with the infusion of her meds. All of us are awed by Joe’s can-do attitude and unceasing determination to take care of his family.

I am inspired by the strength and courage of this family as they stay positive through extreme adversity. I want to help them with a financial support donation.

[written by: Diane L, Kathy’s sister, during a recent trip to Chicago to help the family; edited by Katie]
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