5 years old at diagnosis and relapsed at 12 years old
Florence , SC, USA
Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital in Columbia, SC
National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA
Vermont Children's Hospital in Burlington, VT
The month Katie turned five years old, she began a series of strange symptoms. Fevers, weight loss, fatigue, rashes, limping were some of the most apparent ones. Four months later, after multiple doctors visits, her primary doctor (military) found a tumor in her abdomen that was confirmed on October 1, 1999 to be Stage IV Neuroblastoma. She had a large tumor in her right adrenal gland that was extending around her spine and aorta, tumors in all of her long bones (legs, arms), tumors in her spine, and 100% bone marrow disease. She went through five rounds of chemo, and her bone marrow was clean, tumors almost all cleared except original tumor. She had surgery to remove that, and then did focal radiation to the tumor bed and spine. In March 2000, she had a peripheral blood stem cell transplant. From July through December 2000, she took accutane. Katie was clean for six years, and relapsed with a tumor in her right forearm in March 2006. We then sought many different types of treatment in four states, but the neuroblastoma would keep coming back in different places.
Immediately after finishing a Phase II clinical trial in Vermont of nifurtimox, she relapsed again, and the entire lining of her brain was eaten away by neuroblastoma, plus there were tumors in her abdomen. After two weeks in hospice, Katie passed away on August 1, 2008 at the age of 14.
Katie adored the color blue, and she loved to sing. She wanted to be a vet when she grew up. Her smile could light up a room, and she smiled often. Katie sang in a middle school group called the Blue Notes, and it was her greatest joy. She wouldn't sing privately for anyone, but loved to be on a stage and could sing a solo up there like she was born to be up there.