Karina's Fight For Life

An Update from Karina:

Friends, Family, Friends of Friends and New Friends, I wanted to thank you all for your support and donations. Your generosity has been overwhelming and humbling. I am so grateful.

I had been waiting for good news, a measurable improvement in my scans, to share. However, what I am learning is that it may be quite some time before we achieve that measurable improvement. Your donations have allowed me to refocus my life. I was able to put running the Physical Therapy Practice on the back burner and let Perry worry about the kids and the household. I approach this Metastatic Breast Cancer the same way that I approach everything else in life, to learn everything I can and master it.

I just completed my 4th round of Oral Chemotherapy. I'm tolerating the dose well. My days are structured around my medications, supplements, rest and exercise. I am encouraged by the change in the breast mass. It has decreased from the size of half a softball, to half a baseball. My greatest struggle is redefining my expectations of life. I no longer imagine myself in my 70's or 80's. I hope for 5 or 10 more years so that I can teach my kids all the LIFE LESSONS that I can, to see them develop into loving, productive individuals for as long as I can, to share in their triumphs and hold them during their failures.

Having cancer is very lonely. Only others with cancer can know what that means. I am seeking out support groups and counseling. Maybe I know too much being in the healthcare field. With Stage 4 metastatic cancer, I am just one turn or failed course of treatment away from becoming terminal. When I was diagnosed in May, I was introduced to another woman in my neighborhood who had metastatic breast cancer for 2 years. She just took a turn for the worse and is now on hospice.

On to the joys of my life...my four kids. Hunter was lucky enough to be set up to shadow doctors in Houston this past summer thanks to my cousin Lillian. During his shadowing Hunter met OB/GYNs and Oncologists that weighed in on my cancer and made recommendations on my treatment. I had my ovaries removed due to insights Hunter brought to our attention. Hunter was just invited to join Phi Delta Epsilon, the international Pre-Med Fraternity. Perry and I say that Hunter is the combination of each of our best qualities.

Brett is my Mother's Day Baby. I am very proud of him. He has the privilege of winning the genetic roll of the dice and being blessed with the artistic gene. He has an infectious sense of humor. Brett is also brave. As a teenager he has to listen to his body and try to make sense of his feelings and emotions, then balance exercise, diet and sleep to maintain his body chemistry.

Taylor is the caregiver. Perry and I both miss her immediately when she leaves to travel. She takes care of everyone in the house. Taylor embodies the Sports Philosophy that all our kids were raised with: DO YOUR JOB! and THE TEAM COMES FIRST! I envision Taylor playing Lacrosse in High School and College and eventually Coaching. Taylor is like my mom, JoAnn, teacher, organizer, socialite.

Kate is the baby and the boss of the house. She takes a little longer to do everything, because she easily convinces others in the family to do things for her. Before we knew it Kate just grew up and is a very observant, humorous, chatty teenager who is actually pretty good at lacrosse. Kate is like my mother in law, Rosie, the consummate Princess.

With my deepest appreciation,
Karina Lee Howe

This page was created by close family of KARINA LEE HOWE.

KARINA LEE HOWE, 49, is a physical therapist, graduate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, leader, problem solver, mother of four (Hunter 19, Brett 16, Taylor 13, and Kate 10), and wife of Perry Howe. She is the daughter of Alson & JoAnn Lee, sister of Lenora Lee, and daughter-in-law of Rosie Lo. She is an amazing human being and we are raising funds on behalf of Karina and her immediate family.

In November 2017 Karina became debilitatingly ill and doctors were not able to determine the cause. It was not until May 2018 that Karina was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer (Metastatic Lobular Carcinoma). Though missed on routine mammograms, further tests showed that the cancer had metastasized and spread to both breasts, lymph nodes, liver, and throughout her bones (spine, hips and legs). The doctors are treating it as a chronic condition with no cure.

In June she began a combination of chemotherapy, hormone blockers, and bone strengthening injections in hopes to shrink the tumors and starve the cancer cells. The median life expectancy for patients with metastatic breast cancer is 26 months, and fewer than 1 in 4 survive for more than five years.


Her out-of-pocket medical costs (chemotherapy, hormone suppressants, injections, infusions, tests, CT and bone scans, supplements, potential surgeries and radiation) are high and mounting. The Chemotherapy decreases Karina’s white blood cell count so low that she is immunocompromised and exhausted. The bone-strengthening infusion drugs leave her bedridden. With the challenges of time and susceptibility to infection, she and her husband have had to cut down the workload in their physical therapy / chiropractic practice. Perry has taken on the role as primary caregiver, as Karina is dedicating her energy to healing.

Their most immediate need is ongoing financial support during this critical time of rearranging Karina’s daily responsibilities, nutritional intake, and life focus.


We are currently seeking to raise $180,000 for this first phase of battling cancer. This will help cover the $18,000 per month needed to compensate for the medical treatment, lost income, and to help meet the outstanding bills they may be facing.  

What we seek is simple:

- 4 people who can make a contribution of $45,000
- 8 people who can make a contribution of $22,500
- 18 people who can make a contribution of $10,000
- 24 people who can make a contribution of $7,500 (or $625/month for this 1st year)
- 36 people who can make a contribution of $5,000 (or $417/month for this 1st year)
- 60 people who can make a contribution of $3,000 (or $250/month for this 1st year)

Some may be able to give more and others less but please, if you are reading this, consider making a contribution. If you are unable to give monthly, a one time contribution in any amount would be greatly appreciated. The challenge to all of us, is not to give what you can "afford", but to give how you would want others to give to your closest loved ones and family.

We should also note the possibility of this being an ongoing battle with cancer and the ongoing need for support to help cover Karina’s medical bills and lost income.

Here are the steps to give.

1)  Click the "Donate Now" button on this page.
2)  Enter the desired donation amount.
3)  Enter your billing information.  

This online platform GoFundMe charges 2.9% in fees. If you prefer to donate directly by check, or wish to make recurring monthly contributions, please email Lenora at LenoraLeeDance@gmail.com for processing. For recurring contributions, indicate your desired monthly amount, as well as how many months you would like to contribute.

Those who know Karina know she is a fighter, a compassionate, dedicated, and loving human being. Her gifts and service have touched the lives of so many. She has spent years in the combined practice of physical therapy and chiropractic, with her husband Perry, through thorough and detailed work in the healing processes for her countless patients and family. It is urgent that she take this much needed time now to battle the cancer and heal.

Karina has taken great steps to understand treatment and healing options, and is fighting the cancer every step of the way, through the days of stability and the days of uncertainty and fatigue, she is planning for her and her family’s future. Her goal is full remission.

Thank you for standing with us during this challenging period. Please help spread the word about this campaign by sharing it within your networks. We are ever so grateful for your support.

With much appreciation,
The Lees and Howes

P.S. Please direct any inquiries or suggested resources to Lenora at LenoraLeeDance@gmail.com.

Donations ()

  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Jeanee Quan-Linden 
    • $150 
    • 1 mo
  • Dave Ho 
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
  • Doreen Der-Mcleod 
    • $100 
    • 3 mos
  • Raymond Fong 
    • $200 
    • 3 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Lenora Lee 
San Francisco, CA
Karina Howe 
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