On April 8, 2018, doctors diagnosed Karen’s daughter Brynna Kate with very high-risk leukemia. Brynna was two years old. Karen remembers the weeks after Brynna’s diagnosis.

Even though we will never meet many of you, your support, your generosity, and your love have forever altered our lives and the life of our daughter. 

It was all a blur, yet the details stand out vividly in my mind. Blood tests, ultrasounds, a CT scan, a flurry of activity all leading up to the moment when we heard the words that forever altered our family’s course: “Your daughter has cancer.” Brynna’s oncologist asked if we had any questions. I said, “I only have one, and I know you can’t answer it, but is she going to be ok?” She replied, “Your daughter is VERY sick, but we are going to do everything we can to help her.”

Before Brynna’s diagnosis, I had never heard of Connor’s Heroes; yet Connor’s Heroes is a part of our journey. We were sent to the waiting room while doctors prepped Brynna for procedures. In the room was a Connor’s Heroes Backpack. The iPad inside helped us pass many long days at clinic and in the hospital. Our first week in the hospital, I met Erin when she was helping serve lunch to the families on the 7th floor. She has become a sweet friend. She is encouraging, smiling, and uplifting every time I see her in clinic or talk with her on the phone. 

After two tear-jerking, but miracle-filled weeks in the PICU, followed by two weeks in the step-down unit, Brynna came home… no longer able to walk, weak, pale, and confused, but she came home.

Brynna and Karen at a Connors Heroes Art Session

Our focus was on our daughter’s battle and keeping our young sons’ lives as normal as possible. Finances needed to become one of the least of our worries. We felt loved, seen, taken care of, and supported by Connor’s Heroes.

During the holidays, Connor’s Heroes had events for the children in treatment. I yearned to say yes to them, but Brynna was in a portion of treatment where she could not be around people. Connor’s Heroes surprised us with a generous gift card for the holidays. I cried. We received a box in the mail. Inside was everything we needed to watch a movie, including snacks and a red and white striped popcorn box. It was incredible. I cried again. As Brynna finished up her intense treatment, she slowly ventured out more and more. Erin and Celia invited us to the monthly art sessions. Wyatt and Brynna had a blast! Our family was featured in the Heroes Art Ball. Connor’s Heroes picked out a perfect hot pink “tutu” dress for Brynna. 

Once Brynna put on the dress, she shined. It was a beautiful night, and we were completely blown away by the generosity of every person in attendance.

2019 Heroes Art Ball

Brynna will complete her treatment in August 2020. We have a long road ahead, but she continues to amaze us with her strength, resilience, humor, and joy. This journey has been heartbreaking, isolating, miracle-filled, horrendous, and beautiful. We would never choose this path, but we know God has sustained us and our family through the prayers, support, and love from countless people. 

Thank you for providing beauty to our lives.

Karen and her baby daughter at a Heroes Art Session