Why Cat's story matters |
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This week marks 10 years I've spent at kxly. It's amazing how fast time flies and how many stories I've been lucky enough to tell. I've told stories that made me laugh, stories that made me mad and, unfortunately, stories that have made me cry. Over the last few weeks, I've been blessed to tell the story of Cat Davis and Spokane's incredible efforts to save her life.
Why do we keep telling you about her, when there are so many others suffering in our community? It's not that her story matters more than anyone else's, that's not our point. But, it does matter. It matters because she's exhausted every possible treatment. It matters that she's dying, there's no way around that. It matters because of the way Spokane has rallied around this hometown girl and we're watching her life be saved before our very eyes.
From the time I heard about Cat, I knew I had to do the story. I happen to know quite a bit about Scleroderma, from which Cat is suffering. One of my mom's best childhood friends had the disease. Sadly, she did not survive. She left behind a husband and three kids, dying from a disease very few people had heard of, let alone could understand. I saw Cat's smile and I thought about Darlene - and, I wanted to do my part to share what Cat was going through.
The moment she opened the door of her family's North Spokane home, I knew Spokane would fall in love with Cat. Here she is, struggling with a disease that makes it impossible to even comb her own hair. Yet, she greeted us with a smile you wouldn't believe. She sat on her couch, smiling bravely, as she showed us her arm so hardened by Scleroderma, she can't bend it past 90 degrees. She told us how her mom has to shower and dress her every morning. She told us how she can't bear to think about dying and leaving her beloved nieces and nephews behind. She told us, "I am so young, I have so much life to live."
You bet she does.
But, she needs help. A doctor's review of her case reads:
"Without cessation of her disease, Ms. Davis is at high risk of not just death, but a slow and painful decline in health with repeated hospitalizations. In addition, immediate treatment is essential before the disease progresses to her heart, which at that point would be incurable and ultimately fatal."
We can't wait. She needs to get to Chicago before this monster creeps any deeper.
Now, she'll get that chance. Spokane picked up her story and ran. They bought coffee and bracelets and t-shirts. They signed up for 5k runs and hopped online. As we speak, they're buying pizzas. Saturday, they'll buy ice cream cones and smile, knowing their dessert is saving a life.
Cat sent me a text late last week, asking if we could get together for coffee. She wanted to share some news. I was excited - but, double-checked the text several times to make sure she said "exciting news." I didn't want to hear that her condition had gotten terribly worse.
The news she shared, which we told you yesterday, was not only good, it was life-changing. A medical review board reversed the insurance company's decision. Cat's stem-cell transplant will now be covered. I was shocked when she told me and we figured out how we could share the news with the people in Spokane. Then, I left -and found myself bawling as I shared the news with my husband. I couldn't hold back the tears when I told him, "I'm just so happy for her." It's genuine happiness and bittersweet sadness. She needs this transplant so badly, without it, she'll die. Now, she's my friend - and, there's no way in hell we can let that happen.
So, why does Cat's story matter? Because it could be any of us. It could be your sister, your mom, your cousin, your wife. And, it matters because it will save lives. Money raised for Cat means awareness raised for a disease that kills indiscriminately. Extra money she raises will go to a foundation now in the works. And, money raised and a stem-cell transplant gives Cat what she needs more than anything: time to change the world.