Imagine watching your child in agony, daily. Imagine rushing your child to the hospital at the slightest symptom of sickness. Imagine watching your child fight off a body full of cancerous cells. Imagine watching your child have surgery after surgery. Imagine knowing there is one place that can help your daughter but you cannot afford to get her there and you can't get the insurance company to process the claims. On top of that, imagine your very ill child is being cyber-bullied about her cancer. That is Roxanne Holloway's current reality.
Roxanne Holloway is fighting an unimaginable battle — one for her daughter's life. "I'm so overwhelmed with all of this trying to get my daughter well and it seems like we're up against one roadblock after another," she said. Roxanne has beautiful twin daughters, who just turned 22, Sarah and Katie Holloway. Sarah is healthy. Her sister, Katie, is fighting for her life.
In October of 2015, Katie had surgery to remove her left lung due to a tumor. After pathology reports Katie was diagnosed with lymphoma as well as an additional rare cancer called IGG4 Sclerosing Disease. Katie was sent to Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester Minnesota about every 2 months, beginning in January 2016. Her team of doctors immediately started her on chemo as soon as she got back to her home state of Oklahoma. Katie went through many weeks of chemo but doctors decided to stop the chemo due to her thyroid, gallbladder and right lung showing signs of being attacked as well and blood counts becoming too low to continue.
"We've made multiple trips to Mayo in Minnesota as they are the only ones with experience treating her rare diseases and cancers. I can't even begin to tell you the amount we've spent but it's prob around 100,000.00 already! We owe $24,000 at Mayo before we can return again," said Roxanne. "I don't know what amount we will be responsible for but regardless, I have to come up with it."
Most 22-year-old ladies are having care-free fun with their friends and attending college or working. Katie's days are filled with pain, sickness and medication. There are many days she can't get out of bed or hold any food down. Her mom spends her days taking care of her and trying to make her as comfortable as possible.
Katie is now dealing with cyber-bullying messages on top of it all. She gets harassing messages sent to her about the actuality of her illness, the donations and more. No person, let alone one who is this sick, should have to deal with this type of harassment.
Roxanne and Katie both remain in high spirits despite the illness and harassment. "It only takes two things. A beautiful smile and an 'I can do this attitude'! With that being said, this is why I call her my little ninja warrior," said Roxanne.
Roxanne is in a constant battle trying to get insurance claims paid so she can get her daughter to the only place that has the advancements to help her daughter. She pleads with them and finds herself frustrated. Katie seems to be a piece of paper to them while she is Holloway's whole world. Katie is an absolutely beautiful young lady on the outside but her body is fighting a very ugly battle on the inside. Without the resources of the Mayo hospital, it will be very hard for her body to fight off this sickness. "We don't have many feel good days anymore but when we do we take full advantage of them," said Roxanne. Katie's Facebook bio says, "Phlebotomist, twin sister and fighting a battle that I will win." It is that sort of internal fight that makes such a difference in her battle.
Most days, Katie spends in restless pain in bed trying to beat this ugly disease. Along with her mother and sister, Katie finds comfort and companionship through her cat. Her mom frequently posts photos of them cuddling in Katie's bed. Her sweet kitty offers much needed therapeutic love to help her face this unimaginable battle.
"The doctors have put her on a new medicine to try to slow down the progression but with that comes all the nasty side effects of feeling deathly sick. She's dealing with severe migraines, struggling to breathe, stomach issues, constant vomiting, bone and joint pain and the list goes on and on," said Roxanne. There are days when Roxanne has ice packs on Katie's back, her legs propped up to help take the pressure off her spine and is trying to whip up any meal Katie can manage to stomach. All of Roxanne's devotion and love never goes unnoticed or unappreciated by Katie. She recently posted on her Facebook, "Looks like I'm staying in bed all day today. Horrible headache, vomiting and burning up. A huge thanks to my mom for taking care of me while still finishing house chores and cooking dinner. Don't know how she does it all. I love you, Mom."
Luckily, Katie does have a few feel good days and tries to make the most of them and live life like a normal 22-year-old. Katie has demonstrated such grace throughout this process. She keeps a smile on her face, a positive attitude and a determination to win this battle she is fighting. Recently, she has been heartbroken to read the terrible messages she is getting from random young people. In response to the cyber-bullying, her mother recently posted on Facebook:
"I do have a very very sick daughter and she's heartbroken and very upset about certain messages she's gotten through Facebook! I don't know what more we could do on our end as we post details, updates, private pictures of her surgeries and everything possible so those of you who do donate understand that your donations go to good use which is only used for all Katie's treatment costs, out of pocket expenses for very expensive scans, extremely expensive medications monthly, money for surgeries, co-pays, insurance and the list goes on and on. Donations are never used for anything but that. We feel every single donation big or small is a huge blessing and we make sure to thank every single one of you that care enough about her and saving her life to donate. We truly love all of you and thank you for being our huge support system and loving us enough to do so! God bless you all."
If interested in helping Katie fight this battle against cancer, please see her Go Fund Me account (created by her sister, Sarah, with all funds going to her medical expenses).