Updates on How to Help at the bottom of post.
“I still can’t believe this is happening. What I’ve feared most for the past two years is becoming reality. I’m having to watch the most precious thing in the world to me die. I seriously don’t know how to move forward, nor do I want to. I will miss her sweet voice and beautiful smile so, so, so much. Always wondering what she would have been like as the years pass without her in my life. This is truly the most awful feeling in the world.” Keisha, Stevie’s mom
Stevie’s marrow and peripheral blood are full of leukemia. She has a serious bacterial infection that also infiltrated her Hickman catheter, requiring her line to be pulled. Her breathing is fast, 70-80 breaths a minute. Her fevers are constant.
Stevie’s parents, Michael and Keisha, had to make the brutal decision yesterday to stop any further treatment. All the monitors are off. No vitals are being taken. She has limited access to get meds in because IV team is unable to place a line. At this point, there are no more chemotherapy options for Stevie, so advanced is her disease and infection. She is incredibly uncomfortable but is being provided the best pain management available.
The room is dark and the bed laden with more girlish colors and patterns than you can imagine. Keisha longs to pull Stevie into the curve of her body but Stevie feels so “yucky,” that she only wants the constant sensation of her legs and body being rubbed, tender hands ever-present.
Stevie’s baby sister only came out into the world three weeks ago. So little time for two sisters to know each other, to bond. As one is just arriving, the other is departing. The pain like your rib cage being torn open with blunt force.
Not nearly enough tears will come. I think about Stevie and her family clustered in that small room; all day and night they enter my thoughts. It is like watching a version of your own life. Like Allistaire, Stevie was almost the same age when she was diagnosed, just two years old. Both diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Two little Montana girls. Their room is across the hall from ours in Ron Don. They have matching unicorn pants. In the stunted confined way that is the only possible way in this strange labyrinth of pediatric cancer, Stevie has been Allistaire’s closest friend. I can picture perfectly where I stood at St. Edward’s State Park when I first learned of Stevie’s story. I can still see her fantastically chubby legs the first time I met her in person soon after she was diagnosed. I remember so clearly pulling off to the side of Kelly Canyon Road before I lost cell reception to hear news of Stevie’s relapse. So many points stand bright and vivid, in part because they have been so like our own. In part because Stevie is a wild cat, full of glee and mischief and just straight up adorable. There is so much to love about that girl. It seems incomprehensible that the world can exist without her.
As her family, mom Keisha, dad Michael, grandmother, aunt and baby sister dwell minute by minute through all the minutes left for Stevie, I am yearning to care for them in any way that is possible. There is nothing any of us can do to stop the careening path Stevie is on, but what I want to do is to support their ability to remain together in that room as a family and specifically to take away the time-consuming task of figuring out meals. This is where I’d like to ask for your help. It is my goal to have all meals covered for Stevie’s family for the coming days. If you would like to show tangible love for them, please see the details below on how you can sign-up to bring a meal, give money to contribute to meals and/or give money directly to Stevie’s parents.
Thank you for all of you who so faithfully pray on our behalf. I ask that you would do the same in this agonizing time for Stevie and her family. I pray that the Spirit of God would bring Stevie comfort.
***Updated Thursday morning 1/28 @ 10:45am
Thank you for your overwhelming response in wanting to help!!!! There are three main ways to do this:
1. For those of you in the area that want to provide a meal, please follow this link to Take Them A Meal and sign up to bring a lunch or dinner for four adults. Enter the last name Rasmussen and password stevie2016
Meals can be dropped off at the River Entrance front Security Desk at Seattle Children’s Hospital (4800 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105)
Not too spicy as Keisha is nursing, just enough for a meal as they have limited fridge space to store extra food, and they only have access to a microwave so please supply food in easy to use portions and cut anything requiring cutting as they do not have access to kitchen utensils. Please review what others are bringing so you don’t inundate them with too much of the same type of food. No one wants to eat lasagna 5 days in a row, no matter your circumstances.
2. If you’re out of the area and want to give money to help provide meals, you can do so through this link Square Cash. Online you can only use your debit card. If you get the iPhone or Android app you can use either a debit or credit card, though there is a 3% fee for credit card use.
If you’d like to send a check, please mail it to Ronald McDonald House, Attn: Allistaire Anderson, 5130 40th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98015 and please write “Stevie” in the menu line to make it clear that you are giving for meals for Stevie’s family.
Any money that may be raised that exceeds the amount needed for meals, I will give directly to Stevie’s mom and dad, Keisha and Michael.
3. I am sure Keisha and Michael will have many expenses in the coming days and weeks on top of the financial strain of the last two years, so if you would like to give directly to them, you may do so through their Stevie Strong You Caring site.