Celebration of Champions® 2017

Celebration of Champions 2017

All Hallows Academy

Join our Team and Help Kids like Cate!

Each year, All Hallows Academy (AHA) students, faculty and families come together to support Celebration of Champions. This is an event that provides children who have been diagnosed with cancer, along with their families, a day to get away from the challenges they are facing or have endured from treatment. AHA students will create various fundraisers to reach a team goal of $3000, to become Celebration of Champion Sponsors. In order to better understand why it's so important to support this event, a current patient advocate, from Rady Children's Hospital, and her family have shared their story with the school. We are very excited to have Cate as the person who will motivate the All Hallows Academy Team in 2017.

Cate's Journey, a message from her parents:

Our daughter, Catherine, was a healthy, funny, feisty 5 year-old who was taking the summer by storm in 2015. She was learning how to surf, attending camp at the San Diego Zoo and preparing to start kindergarten in the Fall.

Cate is the type of little girl who is always on the go. She could be found wearing a pink sparkly tutu riding a Big Wheel in cowboy boots. She is equal parts "girly girl" and Tom boy. She adores manicures, jewelry and Lush Bath Bombs but loves to run with her Labradors, collect roly poly bugs in the backyard, chase butterflies and play a mean game of hide and seek with her two brothers.

So in July 2015 when she started to fatigue easily, we noticed right away. She started to suffer from occasional high fevers, headaches, severe muscle aches and a waning appetite.

Three weeks later on August 7, after another night of fever and night sweats, her pediatrician sent to her Rady Children's for a complete blood count. Hours later, our lives would be forever changed when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She was immediately admitted to the Hospital to start treatment that very night.

Hearing your child has cancer sets off an internal mental and emotional tsunami with nothing but fear and panic in its path. While we were stunned and devastated, we also knew we happened to be 15 minutes away from a nationally acclaimed resource that could save our daughter's life ... the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. And we could not help but feel utterly fortunate and grateful much needed medical and emotional help and support were so close.

Cate is currently fighting her way through a two and half year treatment regimen. Recently reaching her first year of treatment milestone we reflect back on the six inpatient admissions, 40 overnight stays, five emergency room trips, 45 outpatient clinic visits, eight transfusions, 13 lumbar punctures, and countless rounds of chemotherapy and doses of steroids and pain medication that are now behind her. She has battled back from severe neuropathy and myopathy pain, lost her hair twice, missed an entire year of schooling and endured more than we ever thought possible.

Her diagnosis shattered our family's life as we knew it. When you are forced to sit with your pain...change is inevitable. Trying to find our new rhythm these days feels different, because it is different. You can start putting the pieces back together but the pieces don't always fit. It's like forcing a butterfly to crawl back into a cocoon. So, there is no choice but to keep looking forward.

Cancer waits for no one. Time marches on. Gapped tooth smiles and too tight shoes serve as constant reminders all three of our children are growing and changing every day despite Cate’s disease. We are the parents of three children who need us, despite cancer. Our boys have struggled and sacrificed. They too are fighters in their own right. We try to heal the wounds that cancer has left on them as well.

We have 14 months left to reach Cate's last chemotherapy treatment in October 2017. While uncertainty still occupies our future, we, nevertheless are here. She is a fierce warrior. And we are in awe of her courage, grit, grace, and resilience.

We may be bruised but we are also blessed. We are one year in and one year stronger. And with the help of her incredible medical team at the Peckham Center, our cherished family and beloved friends, and our two Labradors Sam and Coral, we will continue to move onward as a family to fight for her.

We are also thankful for the many donors and sponsors who support the psycho/social programs that are funded in part by the Celebration of Champions®, These programs bring great comfort and hope at a low point in patients’ and families’ lives.

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