Saving Karter-Fight Against Cancer
My daddy and mommy are Karl and Laurie Strand. I have the greatest little brother, Maverick, he is 11 months old. He is my best friend. My mommy and daddy brought me home from the hospital when I was 3 months old and adopted me. They have given me the best life and the biggest family to love me. Our village.
Although I am too little to read or write, my Aunt Jenny and Aunt Kiki (Kerianne) helped me write this message to you.
My favorite things to do are spending time with all my family and friends, playing in the water, going to the beach, boogie boarding with my daddy, singing and dancing with mommy, going to Publix on Saturday mornings with daddy, playing with cars and trucks with my Maverick and waiting for big garbage truck that stops by every few days.
A week ago my mommy took me to the doctor because I wasn’t feeling well. I was throwing up, had a fever and my tummy hurt so they thought it was just the flu. They ran some tests but when they felt my tummy it seemed that my spleen was enlarged. So they ran a few more tests including one for mono but it all came back negative. After all the tests were negative, they thought it would be best that they take me to the hospital.
We went to the emergency room at St. Mary's Children's Hospital on Tuesday, June 28th, 2016. They immediately did an ultrasound and told my mommy and daddy they saw a mass on my kidney and we would be staying the night. Those words were scary to them.
That night they ran a CT Scan and they transferred me to a new room. As we were walking through the halls, my parents didn’t even realize I was being admitted to a room in the Oncology Unit. They walked right passed the sign not realizing a thing.
The next morning, the Oncologist came in and told my mommy and daddy that the CT Scan came back and saw that my adrenal gland, renal vein were also being affected. They ordered an MRI for later that day. The MRI was a long process. It showed my left iliac bone was also showing spots. I now needed a bone scan and my bone marrow tested.
The next day, the bone scan confirmed the cancer has spread to my iliac, humerus and femur bones, the tumor is wrapped around my adrenal gland and surrounding vessels. The bone marrow tests came back positive. It was confirmed I had Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. One of the rarest childhood cancers.
My mommy and daddy are utterly devastated. I’m not sure what’s going on but I know they are sad. They are scared. My village has not left my side. They are all so sad.
Later that day my family had a meeting with all the doctors. They said, I have 4 months or less to live without treatment. However, with treatment I have a 60% chance of beating this. But the treatment plan is scary, intense and a long process.
I need at least 14 months of treatment. 18 weeks of chemotherapy, constant blood transfusions, radiation, bone marrow stem cell transplant, antibody therapies and a surgery to remove the tumor. The cancer is everywhere so they have to localize it before removing the tumor. You know it’s just bigger then the size of a golf ball! That will break something if you throw it. Mommy doesn’t like when I throw things.
The chemo treatments have to be in the hospital. I'm there for a whole week. Then I get to go home for 2 weeks. I have numerous doctor appointments during that time and pray I don’t get sick. If I do, I have to come back to the hospital. So I will probably be in the hospital longer than I'm home. The nurses there really try and make me smile. Then when I have the bone marrow stem cell transplant and radiation, I will be in Miami Children's Hospital for a couple months.
Hopefully during those two weeks I'm at home between treatments, I can play, I can go to the beach to smell the ocean even just for a few minutes, (maybe sneak a quick ride on the boggie board) I can go to my Nina’s to play and even sometimes my Aunt Jenny’s to swim. But I can’t be around any sniffles or I could end up in the hospital. So we have to be super super clean.
On Friday, July 1st, I started my first chemo treatment. This starts week one, day 1 of many. So far have had 3 treatments and I feel OK! I have not thrown up and have still been able to eat a little. I hope this continues. Yesterday, I had my first blood transfusion so I have a little bit more energy today.
I know it will be tough on me but most of all I’m worried about my mommy and daddy. I hope they can still smile through this, I need them to smile, I hope they can be strong because I don’t know what’s going on, and need them to be okay.
I write this to ask for help to keep them strong. Please pray for me that I can fight this, please love on my parents, give them a shoulder to cry on, tell them jokes to make them smile, call them so they know you are there. They might not answer, but they need to know they are loved too. There will be times I won’t be able to smile or laugh, so I need you to help me keep them happy because I need them. More than ever.
The last thing, I want my mommy and daddy to know is how blessed I am they opened their hearts for me and brought me home on March 24th, 2014. I love them so much.
----This is My mommy, daddy, me and little brother Maverick---
Please, please help Karter and the Strand Family in this time of need!
The road ahead for the them is unimaginable. Any donation, even the smallest, would be greatly appreciated and will help Karter in his upcoming battles to beat his cancer.
Karter is a sweet, amazing little boy and the Strands are wonderful parents and deserve all the support they can get.
In addition to financial support, they will need an unlimited supply of Lysol wipes, Lysol Spray, BabyGanics Sunscreen, SPF Shirts, Hats and most of all prayers. Tell your church and put him on the prayer list.
Oh and NO Flowers. The pollen that flowers have can cause hospitalization. So smell the flowers for him but you can’t bring them.
He does LOVE mail to brighten his spirits. Do you kids love to color and want to make a card? He would love to see the love!
PO Box 14044
North Palm Beach, FL 33408
Please follow our journey on Facebook. www.facebook.com/SavingKarter
Or Instagram #SavingKarter
Thank you for your support, love and prayers!
Aunt Jenny (Jenny Garland)
Aunt Kiki (Kerianne Riley)
Nina (Diane Smith) Laurie's mother
We have really enjoyed being home over the past month and (as nerve racking as it was) being able to finally celebrate the holidays with our families. Unfortunately, because of Karters lack of immune system we have not been able to spend any amount of our time with our families like we normally would.
Additionally, Karter is semi excited to go back because of all the presents he got during the first round . Obviously he is a 3 year old and doesn't understand that it was because of Christmas and there were a LOT of wonderful people that provided toys with the toy drives for the kids.
So in an effort to keep his visit bright and merry if anyone is able to send something small, like stickers, activities, arts and crafts, games etc. anything to help keep him occupied and his spirits up that would be absolutely wonderful. It would sure put a smile on his face!
We really really appreciate the constant prayers and good vibes from our Village. You all are and have been amazing throughout. Karter's treatment is surely not done yet but one step closer to the end of this terrible road.
Karl and Laurie
PO Box 14044
North Palm Beach, FL 33408
We are now back in the hospital on a scheduled visit. He is having new scans to make sure we're on the right treatment plan.
We had a hearing test yesterday as this next round of chemo could effect his hearing. He is currently under anesthesia having an MRI, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy this morning. Tomorrow he will have a MIBG scan.
His 3rd cycle of chemo officially starts on Wednesday. So we should be heading back home Sunday.
Today, more than ever, we need prayers that treatment is working and that Karters body is responding to this rigorous process. That he is bigger and stronger than this disease.
Karl and Laurie
He woke up starving this morning and we found out he still was unable to eat because of the sedation required during the stem
cell collection. Do you know how hard it is to explain to your 2 year old he cannot eat for over a 24 hour period.
Part of the procedure requires him to have a blood transfusion in conjunction with the stem cell collection. And the stem cell collection was very successful. We just got the call that they were able to collect double the amount of stem cells they were aiming for. And we will be heading home later tonight!
Have you heard of the Make A Wish foundation? It's for children who have life threatening illnesses. I'm a volunteer and wish granter for them. It's an amazing organization!! Please message me if you want/need more info about Make A Wish and what we do!! Your little man is adorable and you are a strong village!! Keeping you guys in my prayers.
I am so sorry that your family is going through this. Being a mother of 5 children I can't even begin to imagine the pain karters parents are feeling. That story literally brought tears to my eyes and I was crying at the end. I will be keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers. The lord is wonderful and miracles do happen! I watched a 12 yr old girl beat leukemia and she had a 20% chance of living. Prayer works and I will add your family to the church prayer list! Again from the bottom of my heart I'm so very sorry.
My family couldn't be more thankful for the outpouring of love and support that Karter has received. There are no words to express our gratitude. God is SO good. All we ask is that you continue to pray for our little man as he kicks cancers ass. If you feel it in your heart to donate, please do... no amount is too small. From my family to yours - Thank you, thank you, thank you. YOUR VILLAGE LOVES YOU KARTER!!