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Mom with terminal cancer keeps fighting

| December 7, 2020 1:07 AM

As part of the annual Press Christmas for All Campaign, we share with readers the stories of the people applying for help. Here’s one of them.

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Looking at “Kate,” most people would never guess she’s living with terminal cancer.

“I’m super blessed for that,” she said.

Most people probably wouldn’t say that, either, if they were in her shoes. But the mom of four isn’t like most people.

Kate was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer in 2014. She had a 10 percent chance to live five years.

“I didn’t want to believe in those statistics,” she said.

After going through chemo and radiation, Kate beat the odds and reached the five-year mark.

“I was excited,” she said. “I thought, ‘Hey, I made it.’”

Then she began to get headaches.

In 2019, an MRI revealed the cancer had spread to Kate’s brain.

Despite a terminal diagnosis, she began treatment again. Side effects from medication forced her to stop working. Now she’s preparing to undergo Gamma Knife radiation, a type of radiation therapy used to treat brain tumors.

“I’m doing everything I can to stick around for my kids,” she said. “I refuse to let them see me feeling sorry for myself.”

In fact, Kate said, she’s more concerned about her children than herself. She has three teen daughters who live at home, and their mom’s illness has cast a shadow over daily life.

“They’ve had to endure six years of this,” she said.

Even before tumors were discovered in Kate’s brain, she said the kids feared any headache or twinge was a sign the cancer had spread.

“There’s always that black cloud that follows you,” Kate said.

As a difficult year comes to a close, one of Kate’s daughters expressed a wish to have “the best Christmas ever.”

She doesn’t want material things, Kate said. Rather, she wants to decorate, bake cookies and make special memories with her family.

“We need to have something happy,” Kate said. “I’d like to make it a little extra happy for them.”

Moments of happiness can be hard to find, between cancer treatments and the bills that come with it. Though the family has insurance, the bills seem insurmountable.

“I don’t know how anybody can have cancer and expect to pay their medical bills,” Kate said. “I’ll be paying off medical debt until I die.”

This year, Kate’s wish is for help to purchase groceries or a few gifts for her children. After so much upheaval, she hopes to give them a normal Christmas.

Despite the challenges she faces, Kate remains thankful.

“It’s brought our family closer together,” she said. “That’s what’s really important.”

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This is the 35th year Press Christmas for All has worked to brighten the lives of Kootenai County residents in need.

Each year, Press readers donate generously to the program. Every penny raised is distributed to Kootenai County residents. All overhead costs are covered by The Hagadone Corp.

The gift recipients are our neighbors who are struggling, including the elderly, disabled, homeless and mentally ill.

Many who seek assistance from Christmas for All are working, but living near or below the poverty level. The beneficiaries of Press Christmas for All are going to keep their dignity intact while the community provides a hand up to help get them back on their feet.

Press Christmas for All is managed by The Hagadone Corp., with assistance from CharityReimagined.Org. It is a legally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit, run entirely by volunteers.

Please help. Make your tax-deductible donation today any of four ways:

• Mail a check to Press Christmas for All, 215 N. Second St., Coeur d’Alene, 83814

• Call The Press and make a secure credit card donation over the phone: 208-664-8176

• Go to cdapress.com. Click on Christmas for All 2020 at the top of the page.

• Drop off your check at The Press weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.: 215 N. Second St. in downtown Cd'A.


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Donors:

Mary Watt; Don Kauleinamoku; Donna Walker; Hank and Betsy Martin; Carol Barton, in memory of Richard Barton; Dick and Janette Compton; Doug and Peggy Albertson; Laureate ETA PL 582; Jim and Nancy Walden; The Deewesters; Tony Delbert; Pauline Wilson; Thomas K. Stuber; Ed and Terri Morse; Josephine Lee and Jerry D. Prophet; Ronald C. and Paula J. Adams; Richard F. and Marla A. Stanich; Sally Hall; Lennis M. McLeod; T.A. Maple and C.L. Maple; Laurie L. Green and Nancy J. Ellefson; H. Rudean Neumann; Dale R. and Joanne T. Baune; Israel and Donna D. Melendez; Thomas D. and Eileen M. DuHamel; Lawrence and Joanne Castor; Howie and Jennifer Stalwick; Linda Young; Hil James; Don and Kathy Robson, in memory of our daughter, Denise Robson; George and Nancy Silva

OVER $500

Kerrie Anderson; Bethany and Sol Sandberg; Bon Vivant Enterprises Inc.; Kootenai Charities Inc.; Janet and Tim Kavran; Pam Ness; James and Carol Crowe; Leo and Helen Calhoun; Christine M. Quinn; Jerry and Carolyn Clark; Atchley Financial Group Inc.; Spunstrand Inc.