My wife and I have some dear friends who have six, yes six children. (Kevin and Christine O'Brien) Two months ago, their 7 year old, Catie, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Catie is perhaps one of the few children in the world who has had this form of cancer at the base of her spine. The tumor was removed (although cancer cells remain) and her path to recovery was planned. It has since been a difficult road for the O'Brien family and mom Christine has been with Catie at the St. Jude's Children Hospital in Memphis. Dad Kevin is back in PA with the other children and trying to hold things together.
Christine and Catie live at Target House which is a long term patient center. Target House is a beautiful facility but hardly home. You can imagine how anxious Catie must be to get back to her own bed in Pennsylvania. She is receiving radiation treatments each day. Generous folks have provided her with an iPod so that she can pass the many hours of waiting at the hospital.
Back on the home front, the other children are prayerful, hopeful and carrying on as "normal kids" would. They have summer camp, birthday parties and chores around the house. Still, they know that their sister is facing great danger and naturally, they miss her terribly. As for Kevin, he is a very strong man and is holding up, but there are plenty of tears, many prayers and the support of friends is essential.
I have offered The Daily Saint as a way of gathering support for The Catie Fund, an account which allows the family to respond to the rising costs of having a critically ill child. These are things that I never thought of like paying for someone to care for the other five children, paying for airfare so that the other children can go with Kevin down to Memphis to see their sister, etc.
I can assure you that this family is for real and is of high integrity. I visited with Kevin last Saturday and they are coping with the pressure and anxiety of Catie's cancer each day.
For information about Catie and her story, click here.
To support The Catie Fund, consider writing a check (P.O. Box 261,
17055). I ask that you be as generous as you can. If you feel so moved, pass this post along to others who may be able to help with Catie.