Happy Birthday in Heaven Katie …

19.08.20

Katie, an Angel of Ward 84 turned 18 on August 13th… her brave mum set up a fundraiser for her birthday and has raised an outstanding amount of £2528.00.  This testament to how loved and missed Katie is.

It is an honour to be chosen by Katies mum and we feel very blessed..

Please take the time to read about this extraordinary young lady, her bravery, courage and determination is so inspiring.

Katie MacRae was diagnosed with cancer when she was only 16  years of age. The cancer was found in her liver, pancreas, spine and lung and was so rare and so widespread, the doctors were not sure if chemotherapy would work. They decided they would carry out a scan after 2 rounds of chemo.

The second dose had to be reduced in strength as it made her so so ill that she ended up in hospital for about 6 weeks. She didn’t eat for about 12 weeks and lost so much weight.

Katie eventually underwent 6 rounds of chemotherapy.

After the last chemo in February 2018, she began to gain her strength and began to regain her appetite once again. Katie was well enough to be able to attend Prom with her friends and in her own words “The whole prom experience was amazing”.

After 3 months of living life something close to that of a normal teenager, Katie had a scan in Sept 2018, the results unfortunately showed the cancer was back and had spread much further.

Katie was referred to the team at the Christie.

Katie had also started Cardinal Newman college in September to study A level combined English, Law and German.

She wanted to start afresh. None of her friends (other than school friends) knew about her cancer and she didn’t even let on to her school friends it was back as she didn’t want to be treated any differently by anyone. She didn’t want them to worry.

Chemo started again in October. It was in the form of tablets. 2 weeks on 2 weeks off. This meant she could carry on college as normal.

Further scans after 3 months of chemo showed it had not slowed, so next treatment was an infusion that she would wear at home.

Katie had a portacath fitted so the chemo could be administered in clinic and we would come home wearing the “bottle” of chemo . The outreach team would removed the chemo once it had all infused after approx 2 days.

Katie knew time for her was short – but always kept positive. She never discussed it with us, she had an amazing way of being incredibly strong, and just skilfully changing the subject when awkward moments came up, we realise now it was her way of protecting us from the pain.

She was always the one her friends turned to if they had an issue that they needed to talk through and was always there to offer advice and listen to their problems. If only they knew of hers….

Katie purchased some poetry books that dealt with serious issues, death being one of them, which showed she had in a way come to terms with what was happening to her. Some of the poems were bookmarked by Katie in the books, when we read these we had to use them at her funeral.

The dreaded cancer spread to Katie’s brain and it was really just a matter of time, but in her inimitable Katie way she still kept laughing and smiling even creating Katie’s party room in her room and inviting all staff to “come in for a skive and cake” whenever they popped in to carry out their daily duties.

Being stuck inside in a hospital room was difficult for Katie she so wanted some fresh air, as it turned out thanks to a wonderful nurse – the day before she passed away, she was wheeled in her bed outside into the garden at the Christie.

She was so pleased to feel the sunshine and shouted at a pigeon in case it thought it was ok to “Shit on her bed!”

We had a lovely evening with family and friends around her bedside eating pizza and chatting and laughing. This was to be last time we had with ‘our’ Katie and although it is sad to think of it as our last interaction with Katie it was beautifully perfect in every way.

The next day she was unresponsive and passed peacefully away shortly after this with us by her side.

Her funeral truly was a celebration of her life with over 500 attending the crematorium and over 200 coming back to the venue for a “party”. There was laughter and smiling all afternoon, as people remembered Katie and her cheeky Katieness.

We all miss her terribly but looking back at her determination, bravery and constant positivity keeps a smile on our face in her memory.
So…. to “Keep Your Katieness” means

Stay determined
Stay positive
Keep smiling. it’s the only way
Always think of others and help them if you can
Just roll with it. Take each day as it comes.
Laugh lots – try to see a funny side of everything

We try to live by this always. – Katie’s Mum 🌻