Catie’s birthday wish comes true thanks to St. Jude donors


In December 2008, a little girl named Catie, who was very sick, made a simple birthday wish, not realizing how difficult it would be to achieve.

For her eighth birthday on April 23, 2009, whether or not she lived to see the day, Catie wanted something very special. Catie wasn’t interested in toys or games for her birthday. Instead, she wanted all those who loved her, including strangers, to give to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in her name. Her wish was to raise at least $1.4 million, enough to support the operating costs of the hospital for one day. Thus was launched a fundraising campaign that continued even after her death on January 25, 2009. Thanks to the generosity of donors everywhere, her birthday wish has come true.

The Catie’s wish fundraiser has already garnered nearly $2 million for the hospital, an amount that stuns her parents. “In this economic environment, people responded to Catie’s story by making a financial commitment that required sacrifice,” said Catie’s mom, Christine. “That makes the success of the campaign even more special.”

Catie was diagnosed in 2008 with a rare form of cancer called atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor, and she soon became a St. Jude patient. Her St. Jude medical team battled the cancer with radiation, chemotherapy and progenitor cell transplants, but it wasn’t enough to fight off the aggressive disease. When Catie made her final wish, she wanted to not only help the St. Jude medical staff, but also the sick children who would come to St. Jude after she was gone.

Christine said the family will keep raising money for St. Jude in Catie’s name. “It is our firm belief that Catie’s story has the capacity to continue to touch people’s lives, and that her life, as brief as it was, holds lessons for all of us.” She added, “The only limit to God’s ability to work in your life is your level of trust. St. Jude founder Danny Thomas certainly trusted God, and look what happened.”

April 2009