Posted: April 18, 2017
Two days after her wedding reception, on August 4, 2014, Katie’s daughter Chloe was diagnosed with high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She was only 5 years old.
“My world was shattered. Nothing made sense that day. The only thing we did know was that Chloe would beat leukemia and grow up to be an amazing woman with a remarkable story to tell.”
That’s how Chloe’s heroic fight started: one day her parents celebrating a happy occasion, and the next day, they’re driving 90 minutes to the hospital, unsure and frightened for what lied ahead.
For the next 2 1/2 years, Katie would make that 90-minute drive each way to take Chloe to treatment, often on unpaid time from work. On most days, it was just the two of them, without her father or sister, so they relied heavily on each other for comfort through these tough times.
At first, Chloe was scared because many things didn’t make sense to her. She knew she had “bad guys” in her blood, and that the “good guys” needed to attack the bad guys. Her awesome spirit didn’t let anything get to her.
“Chloe handled treatment like a true superhero. Even on chemo days Chloe was always smiling, dancing, and making people laugh. Her spirit, spunk, and sass through treatment was a true blessing for us to see. Chloe never stopped fighting. Not only was she brave for herself, she was brave for us all.”
It was shortly after Chloe’s treatment that Katie came across the statistic about how childhood cancer research is so unbelievably underfunded – only 4% of federal funding goes toward children’s cancer. She immediately felt the need to help, and as luck would have it, she was given a book from CureSearch on Chloe’s cancer and treatment plan information. It still sits by her desk every day.
“CureSearch was a great resource for me to learn more about Chloe’s cancer. Once Chloe was in a stable point in treatment, I knew I needed to fundraise to help other families. I want to do anything and everything I can to help fund childhood cancer so another mother never has to be in my shoes and be given the title of Cancer Mom.”
With her mother’s newfound passion to help other families, and an amazing community rallying behind her, Chloe was inspired to give back to others and spread the ripples of childhood cancer awareness.
In the last two years, this young superhero has accomplished more than many adults could do in a lifetime. She and her family have raised $8,792 for CureSearch, she organized seven blood drives that collected 484 units of blood, she raised $520 for Children’s Miracle Network UVA and $275 for Hopecam, she collected 716 pounds of pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House, and she collected 5,245 coloring books & crayons that were donated to UVA Children’s Hospital.
“Team Chloe’s” efforts have made the local TV news, newspapers, and magazines. She also appeared on National Headline News with Michaela Pereira, and was selected as one of the Page News and Couriers “Three who made a difference in 2016” award.
Chloe completed treatment on Dec 19, 2016 after 867 days in treatment. Ten short days after completing cancer treatment, she was faced with a 21-day stay at the children’s hospital where she was diagnosed with a rare fungal infection. She will have one more year of treatment, but it doesn’t compare to what she has already faced.
Today, Chloe is an avid gymnastics fan who is pushing herself to learn a floor routine while also getting more comfortable on the balance beam and uneven bars. She also truly enjoys being outdoors – playing on her playground, helping around on the family farm, riding her four-wheeler and bike – she loves it all!
In Batgirl: Year 1, Issue 3, Barbara Gordan says: “I’m strong enough and smart enough for anything you throw at me.”
That, we firmly believe, is Chloe’s life motto.
Help us fight the villain cancer in our countdown to National Superhero Day by donating toward lifesaving research. Help us give superheroes like Chloe a chance to live longer, better and healthier lives.
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