I know a lot of good people. Seriously. Really, really, good people. Funny people. Smart people. Crazy people. (You know who you are!) I’ve been blessed to meet and make a lot of friends over the years, and although I don’t always keep in contact with them as frequently as I’d like, I still think of them frequently. I have the Jetmore family in Montana, the Briles fam in Arizona, and my Sherman crew in Oregon.
But the family I want to talk about today is the Karjalainen clan. I met Rick and Debi Karjalainen right around my Jr. High years, while living in Cambridge, Idaho. I always refer to them as my Youth Pastor’s during those years, but I know they did much more than that. I remember them as awesome people. They cared about the community and they cared about the youth in that community, including me – a socially awkward teen with an unhealthy love of romance novels who personified the phrase, “needy and insecure”. They were so kind to me. Rick even took me to a Father/Daughter event at school once, when my dad was working out of town. They helped to fill a need I didn’t even know I had at the time. And I will love them (and their kids; Erik, Kurt, Mark and Anna!) forever because of it.
Rick and Debi today (shamelessly poached from facebook!)
I haven’t really kept in touch much over the years, other than the occasional greeting card. But then facebook arrived and I’ve been able to cyber stalk, I mean keep up-to-date, with many of my friends.
Recently, I learned that Rick’s granddaughter, Cate, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. It was a devastating diagnosis for any family, but further heart-breaking as they discovered it had spread throughout her body, concentrated around her spine (I believe). Cate is just 8 months old.
The good news is that she has already begun her chemotherapy treatments with positive results. It will not be an easy fight, but she is surround by friends and family who love her and I believe that will make a world of difference.
My purpose in writing about them here is two-fold. First and foremost, I know they would treasure your prayers. Secondly, as with any medical event, their costs are significant. Insurance will help, but there is a sizable deductible. I encourage you to visit the web page they’ve established for Cate: www.teamcate.com, and learn more about this little gem. Those who are able can make a donation via PayPal. There is also a facebook page set up for updates.
I am not one prone to religious outburst, and generally have a quiet faith. However I do believe in the power of prayer and ask for yours on behalf of little Cate. Cancer is a big battle to undertake when you haven’t yet reached a year old, but I believe in a powerful God and that miracles still happen, and I pray for one for Cate.