Katie's Story - Part 2
Early in January, my daughter, Taylor McCullough, learned of a five-year-old girl named Katie Crouch from around her hometown that was diagnosed with a rare form of retinoblastoma, which is cancer of the eye. It started with what the doctors thought was simply pink eye, but when it did not respond to medicine and the eye started to become painful, they were directed to a major children's hospital in St. Louis. After some extensive consulting and examinations by Katie's doctors, the decision was made to remove the eye.
In most cases, this will put an end to the cancer. However, when Katie's eye was sent for examination, there was a tear in it and there was a concern that the cancer had "leaked" out into the surrounding tissue. If it had leaked, then more than likely it would go straight to the brain. Because of this, Katie began her long journey of chemotherapy to rid her body of this beast called cancer.
Although Taylor tried to help out with some of the benefits held for Katie by donating some boards and used equipment she had lying around the house, January through early March is not exactly the prime watersports season here in the Midwest. A few months later, right before Wake Games, Taylor had the idea to get a board and have a bunch of the pro riders sign it at Performance Ski & Surf's grand opening. Taylor asked her coach, Mike Ferraro, if he had a board he could donate. Mike came through in a big way. He happened to have in his garage a one-of-a-kind Ronix prototype board that he gave to Taylor to have autographed.
This unique board is being auctioned off on EBay from today through 8/7/11. The winner will have a one-of-a-kind Ronix prototype board with over 20 pro signatures on it! WakeWorld has kicked off the bidding at $100, but this amazing board will certainly go for more than that! The board is signed by Parks Bonifay, Bob Soven, Scott Byerly, Aaron Rathy, Ben Greenwood, Mike Dowdy, Shaun Watson, JD Webb, Brian Grubb, Oli Derome, Collin Harrington, Jimmy LaRiche, Trevor Hansen, Reed Hansen, Aaron Perkins, Erik Ruck, Emily Copeland, Bec Gange, Cathy Williams, Taylor McCullough, Tarah Mikacich, Amber Wing and many more.
At the end of June, this story really hit home for me. Taylor was on a photo shoot with Supra Boats when she became sick. She went to a clinic in Tennessee and they diagnosed her with mono. She came home early and in the next three days her health teeter-tottered back and forth. She ended up going to the hospital and stayed overnight before being release. However, two days later she was sick again and it was even worse.
Taylor went to a children’s hospital in St. Louis where they decided to do a scope to try and get a better understanding of what was going on. They found a bleeding craterous ulcer. That night Taylor went totally unresponsive while going to the bathroom. Her last words were, "I can't see!" In seconds every bit of her color was gone from her face and she was out. The nurses coded her and within two minutes there were 18 doctors and nurses working on Taylor. She started coming back within a few seconds of laying her back down but that was the scariest five minutes of our lives. They wound up giving her two units of blood that night then another three units five days later.
The following week Taylor had a procedure to stop the bleeding where they went in and burned or cauterized the ulcer and injected Epinephrine to stop the blood loss. After 17 days in the hospital, a month of not being on the water and all the sticking with needles, IV's, and tests on Taylor, I now have a whole new perspective on what some of these kids go through. I can't imagine being a parent going through what Katie’s parents are going through; let alone what the child goes through.
To take Taylor's fundraising idea and go even further, we have several individuals that have helped to make what we are trying to do possible. We are going to auction off this board, an Orlando golfing package and a few other things with all of the proceeds going to… Well, I think Katie and her family may see this so we are keeping it under wraps for now, but 100% of the proceeds are going to do something extremely special for Katie and her family. We need to raise about $1,000 more to get us to where we need to be, so hopefully this will be a good start. We are going to give Katie and her family the surprise in the very near future. We will post back on Katie's Facebook page with what's happening. In the meantime, if you cannot support by bidding on these auction items, please "Like" Katie's Facebook page or share the auction links anywhere you can.
Very special thanks to the following people who are helping to make this happen…
Katie's Story - Part 2