Katie's "Overcomer" Fund

For: Katie Miller
Virginia Beach, VA
Organizer: Jeff Settle
of $40,000 goal.
Raised by 249 donors
92% Complete
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The Story

On April 19, 2017 Katie gave birth to her second child. Shortly thereafter, her doctors found a large mass in her abdomen caused by a rare form of cancer.

In the coming days, Katie will travel to see specialists and begin aggressive chemotherapy. Katie and Stephen will not be working for an extended period of time while they focus on her care. Financial support will help with baby care items, household expenses, travel-related costs, and medical expenses.

Please be sure to post positive messages, prayers, support, and anything that you think will help Katie during this incredibly difficult time. After you leave something for Katie, please be sure to Like, Share, Post, Tweet, and Retweet.

We all know Katie is a caring Mother, a devoted wife, a great friend, a loving daughter and sister, and so much more to so many people. Let's all show Katie the love that she's shown each of us and help her beat cancer!

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on June 22, 2017

Posted on June 22, 2017

Hi everyone!  It’s Katie again.  Time for another update…

Last time we left off with us heading to Johns Hopkins.  That visit we learned more about my cancer, my treatment plan, and all of the possible side effects.  Halfway through the laundry list of side effects, Stephen interrupted and said so basically it’s going to suck?  Our doctor agreed and told us to prepare for my quality of life to suck for the next year.  He estimates I will have one good week a month.  We didn’t want to know any numbers or statistics regarding my survival and the doctor respected that.  I asked him if people survive this type of cancer and he replied they do.  He also told me he wouldn't put me through this if I couldn’t survive.  Naturally, my next question was will I survive?  He replied you will.  And that was all we needed to know as far as prognosis goes!  Now you are probably reading that thinking what an awesome appointment!  Yet somehow, we left there feeling a little hopeless about how the upcoming year was going to go and about recurrence rates (which are very common with my cancer).  A good friend reminded me we have to take this one day at a time… don’t let cancer rob you of your victories.

We decided to get a second opinion at Duke.  We really liked the doctor at Duke as well and were very happy to find out the doctor agreed with the treatment plan.  The doctor at Hopkins and at Duke are friends and were able to discuss my specific case.  It’s always nice to have two experts in your corner, especially two that can work together!  Both doctors also agreed that my cancer might not be Desmoplastic Small Cell Round Tumor (DSCRT), it could be Eweing’s Sarcoma.  They are both working on additional tests to identify the cancer but because DSCRT is so rare it is taking more time than we had hoped.  However, both of the two behave similarly and will be treated in somewhat the same manner.  The DSCRT chemo regimen is slightly more complex than the Eweing’s.  Originally the doctors said we would treat DSCRT but last minute decided to switch to Eweing’s until the additional tests confirm the final diagnosis.  They can add more drugs in next round if they need to.  

On Monday (6/19), we had an echocardiogram done on my heart to be sure it was strong enough for the chemotherapy drugs (it is!).  Later that day we had a chemo education appointment, basically an appointment to educate us on all of the nasty side effects of chemo and preventative measures to take.  The nurse that conducted the appointment kept telling me how complex/complicated my regimen was and that she hadn’t seen one this involved before, not sure if she was trying to make me feel better but it wasn’t working.  She gave us some of our doctor’s notes from Hopkin’s that should have been for our Virginia Beach doctor’s eyes only… I was reading about the regimen later at home and came across my life expectancy.  The one thing we had specifically asked not to see.  I had a complete breakdown.  I was on my hands and knees crying and screaming to God to save me.  I know God hears those prayers.  I know when I am at my weakest, He is at His strongest.  My God is so much bigger than cancer.  My God is so much bigger than statistics.  My God will heal me!

On Tuesday (6/20), we had our first PET scan to get a baseline on the cancer.  We needed to know if it had spread anymore or was in any other locations.  The preliminary report shows the cancer in my liver and in some other places in my abdomen.  We will know more when the final report comes in, but we are super thankful it hasn’t made its way out of my abdomen!!  Otherwise, tuesday was pretty uneventful but I was still experiencing a lot of anxiety from Monday’s happenings so I was pretty nauseous and run down all day.

On Wednesday (6/21), we checked into the hospital for our first round of chemo, AKA our first battle.  I still hadn’t eaten much and was still feeling pretty rundown, not the way you want to go into battle.  I know God was looking out for me because they ended up not being able to put my port in and were able to give me some meds to relax and I was able to eat two big meals and get a good night's rest!

Today (6/22), my port was put in this morning.  It was kind of a weird feeling to be awake for a procedure but it was relatively pain free.  The operating room was great, classic rock was playing and all of the surgeons, nurses and support staff were having a good time, it really helped to ease my anxiety!  The port will allow easy access for my chemo drugs to be administered, as well as fluids and blood draws.  The port is under my skin on the upper right hand side of my chest and will stay there until I kick cancer’s sorry ass.  Premeds were administered 30 minutes before chemo was scheduled to start.  The chemo round today was relatively short (only about 30 minutes) but it sure does feel good to finally start fighting back!  Tomorrow will be about about 90 minutes long with a different drug.  Saturday I will start a 48 hour continuous chemo drug and then we should be able to check out and go home Monday.  Most of the side effects will start to kick in once I get home, especially the lowering of my blood counts.  Please don’t feel offended if I say no to visitors, I have to be quarantined during that time.  

Again, thank you all for the continued prayers, thoughts, texts, phone calls, meals, visits, and donations.  I am so grateful and still floored by all of the support!  I love you all!  I will try to update again soon, hopefully to say that I am feeling great!

Posted on June 20, 2017

Posted on June 20, 2017

Hi everyone!  At Katie's request, we are rebranding the fundraiser.  It will now be known as Katie's "Overcomer" Fund.  Katie is finding inspiration in the song, "Overcomer" by Mandisa.  The video tracks some of the struggles had by Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton, and Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in their respective journeys.  Please give it a listen and continue to remind Katie that she too will be an "Overcomer!" Click Here to Watch the Video!

Posted on June 4, 2017

Posted on June 4, 2017

Hi everyone, it’s Katie. I wanted to write this update so that I could personally thank all of you for the prayers, well wishes, meals and donations. The amount of support, love and generosity that has been shown to my family and me has been overwhelming (in the best way possible!). Some of you know all the details, some of you know a few details and some of you don’t even know me. But one thing is true for all of you, I am so thankful for each and every one of you and I feel so blessed to be the recipient of all of this love.

As you all know Reid was born on April 19th and shortly thereafter I was contacting my doctor to tell her I thought something was wrong with my postpartum belly. My belly was hard, not flabby, and if I laid flat on my back a lump would protrude upwards. At first a nurse assured me everything was probably fine and that I should just monitor it and my doctor would check everything out at my 6 week checkup. One more week passed and I still knew it wasn’t normal, something definitely wasn’t right. I called my doctor again and this time was brought in for an exam. Next thing I know, I was sitting in an oncologists office talking about extremely invasive surgery and cancer. Surgery was scheduled for one week later to remove the tumor, which had grown to the size of a basketball. We wouldn’t know if it was cancerous until it was out and if it had affected any of my other organs or spread. The doctors were all baffled by the size of the tumor and how no one had caught it during previous ultrasounds or delivery (join the club because I’m still baffled). The surgery went as planned but when I woke up, I knew the news wasn’t going to be good after looking at my loved ones faces. Stephen sat down with me and told me I had cancer, probably the hardest thing he has ever had to say, especially to his wife. He immediately told me we were going to beat this together and from here on out it was going to be positive thoughts only. That man has been my rock, my comfort and my peace through all of this (I love you honeyJ). We stayed in the hospital for 8 days while I recovered from surgery and then we finally got to go home to our boys. Our family and friends were sleeping at our house taking care of the boys, taking care of our home and giving us one less thing to worry about. Again, I was so thankful and counting my blessings because I was still reeling from being told I had cancer at the age of 29… I kept thinking at any minute I was going to wake up from this horrible nightmare. The thoughts were cyclical… I have to see my boys grow up, I have to be there, my husband will not be a single dad or a widower. Stephen would calm me down, let me know it was ok to cry but that we were going to beat this, I wasn’t going to leave them, and we would grow old together. And this is kind of how the days go, I have good days and I have bad days, but there are a lot more good days than bad.

So back to the cancer… The initial reports and surgery told us that the tumor was cancerous and that I had cancer on my colon and my liver. My oncologist was able to remove the entire mass and cut the cancer out of my colon and stitch it back together. He biopsied my liver and the surrounding lymph nodes and removed some lining around my intestines and then stitched and stapled me back up (54 staples, thanks to some friends who wanted to count). We learned that the cancer was called desmoplastic small cell round tumor, a type of sarcoma. The cancer is extremely rare and very aggressive. We were told we couldn’t be treated locally and needed to transfer to Duke or Johns Hopkins and see a sarcoma specialist. Stephen took the reins and started the transfer process (with the help of my cousin who got us in the door). Next stop, Johns Hopkins for more testing and a treatment…

Again, I cannot thank you all enough! Please keep those prayers and encouraging words coming, they mean so much to me. I know God has a plan for me and I know we will win this battle. He has already rallied an army behind me!

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