Single Mom, Breast Cancer, Kids w/ Cerebral Palsy

I am writing this on behalf of my dearest & best friend, Katrena Card (Kennish).  Much of Katrena’s life has been fraught with adversity.  Katrena is one of the strongest and most determined people that I know.  “You can’t do that.” Is a sure – fire way to have Katrena respond with a “Don’t tell me what I can & can’t do.  Watch This!”  However, 2019 has challenged Katrena physically, mentally, emotionally & financially more than she can bear.  This is a plea to listen & to open your hearts and possibly your pockets to support this amazing woman who is tottering on the brink of despair.

For those that might not know Katrena personally, here is a brief summary of where things started…She was born and raised in Washington State, outside of Seattle.  Her parents divorced when she was quite young.  Katrena has two brothers, one with Special Needs.  Her family did not have a lot of money, and so she was raised to work in order to meet her own needs.  Due to a turbulent and dysfunctional home life, at age 15, she had enough of her “Home environment” and ventured off on her own. 

Katrena has always been independent.  She has kept her integrity and her faith when adversity caused her to question everything.  Questioning her skills, talents, friends, her existence & her purpose.  Katrena put herself all the way through school.  She is one of only a few hundred medical professionals in the United States, with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy with a specialty in Wound Care.   Katrena ended up getting married and after two rounds of In-vitro fertilization, finally became pregnant with triplets almost 9 years ago.  They were born at 27 weeks and were diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP). 

The complications with the triplets were significant.  Months in the neo-natal Intensive Care Unit, and then ongoing therapy that continues to this day.  Her oldest son Avery is unable to perform typical activities of daily living.  He cannot walk, sit, eat, go to the bathroom, or even scratch an itch without assistance.  Katrena’s girls, Natalie & Riley are mobile and can do many things unassisted.  However, they still need physical therapy to help combat the physical limitations that CP has had on them. 

With all of these responsibilities in caring for her family, Katrena somehow managed to work in Wound Care.  She has saved many fingers, toes and limbs that without her unprecedented care, would have led to amputations.   While she remains humble, and is not readily willing to admit it, she has saved lives.  As if she did not have enough to fill her insane schedule, she became pregnant with her 4th child.  This was supposed to be impossible, but miracles do happen.  

Fast forward a few years, with 4 kids and her marriage in shambles, Katrena once again had enough of her “Home Environment” and filed for divorce.   This was a huge gamble for Katrena.  She kept her faith and knew in her heart that she could either lose herself in a caustic marriage or stand strong & on her own.   When thinking about being a Mother and setting an example for her kids, the choice was clear.  She would not sacrifice herself to keep a false marriage & financial stability.  She would be a better Mother if she was on her own.  Custody determinations are risky, but the court deemed that Custody of the kids would be split between Katrena and her Ex.

Working for a hospital and seeing patients was limiting Katrena’s ability to care for her kids.  Their many medical appointments and therapy sessions required more PTO than she could accrue.  Katrena had to give up her dream to practice Wound Care so that she could take care of her 4 children.  She now works in a School District as a Physical Therapist with Special Needs children.  While her PTO is still limited, working for the School District means her working days end early and she has the Summer off.

Within the first 4-5 months of 2019, Katrena continued on her journey of independence.  She was able to move out a small apartment and into an accessible house.  A house with an elevator so Avery can access the finished basement in his wheelchair.  A place where he and his siblings play games, watch movies, play the wii and so much more.  As is often the way with life, irony knows no bounds.

In April 2019, Katrena found a lump in her breast.  Just having crossed into her 40s, it was highly unlikely that the lump would turn out to be Cancerous.  The odds however, were not in her favor.  There were MULTIPLE lumps in her breasts & she was diagnosed with aggressively growing invasive ductal carcinoma (breast cancer).  On June 18th, Katrena underwent a double mastectomy & breast reconstruction surgery.  After having difficulty healing…keep in mind Katrena has a speciality in Wound Care…she had to undergo a few more surgeries to ensure that her damaged tissues would heal. 

The tissues still have not healed, and she continues to be at risk for infection, more surgeries and the loss of her implants.  Katrena was told by the Oncologist, that due to her having multiple large tumors, and how aggressive her type of cancer was, she would need to go through 3 months of Chemotherapy to reduce the odds of it metastasizing elsewhere in her body.  Within 6 weeks of her double mastectomy & reconstruction surgeries, Katrena started Chemotherapy.

For a moment, just for a moment, try to put yourself in Katrena’s shoes…  Can you even imagine the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, familial & financial burdens that she is oppressed by? 

Katrena has always figured out how to make ends meet.  She managed to thrive while on her own.  However, the past 3 months have exhausted everything that she has.  Throughout her life, Katrena has ALWAYS given more of herself & her wealth away than she kept.  She has been a strong supporter of Organizations that focus on Independence for those with Special Needs.  While Katrena has continued to demonstrate strength and fortitude the past few months, her limits have been reached.

Katrena is a single Mother with four children.  Three of her kids have Cerebral Palsy and one of the three is significantly disabled.   With Breast Cancer, multiple surgeries & Chemotherapy for the next three months, her bills continue to pile up due to some things not being covered by medical insurance, unforeseen childcare costs (she normally has no childcare in the summer), and household repairs that have to be completed.  Not to mention the medical and child-care needs for her four children all of whom are under 9 years of age!  No one fights alone.  Katrena has been blessed with so many friends, family & even total strangers helping to take care of her and her kids these past few months.  The struggle is not yet over…

Any funds that Katrena had planned for and saved are gone.  This summer was full of 10s of 1000s of unanticipated medical and child-care costs.  The bills continue to pile up and there is no additional income or savings to pay them.   Chemotherapy continues and the impacts to Katrena are debilitating. She is going to try to work because if she goes on short-term disability, she will only receive 50% of her income.  It has been 10 days since her first chemo treatment and she is just starting to have enough energy to forego multiple naps every day.  Avery requires full time care.  Natalie & Riley need therapy to continue on their path for independence with their physical limitations from CP.  Little Jesse, along with his siblings, all need child-care.  Katrena cannot manage this alone.  Financially she is emaciated.

Consider giving something, anything to this amazing woman & her children.  Your generosity will help to ensure that Avery, Natalie, Riley & Jesse are cared for.   Katrena is always more concerned about others.  She has given so much of herself to her family, friends & her community.  Her greatest fear is that she will not be able to care for her kids.  Their care, especially as Special Needs Children, is paramount.  This family needs your help…Please Help…

NOTE:  For those that want to donate via PayPal, here is Katrena's link:

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Organizer and beneficiary

Desiree Davis 
Oconomowoc, WI
Katrena Card 
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