Teen’s cancer experience results in ministry for others


    Kate’s Crates

    by Vickie Creamer

    December 28, 2011 was the date that forever changed the life of Kate Callaham. Kate was a normal, 16 year old teenager. She attended school at Palmetto High and was active in many school functions. She assisted in the nursery at Open Door Community Church. She enjoyed going out with friends and family. She was looking forward to attending her high school prom. Kate began to experience fatigue and weight loss. She began to run high fevers and experience night sweats. Doctors ruled it was a virus and put her on antibiotics. As the days went by and Kate did not begin to feel better, doctors began to dig deeper and sent Kate to have a chest x-ray where they found a swollen lymph node.

    She was then sent to Bi-Lo Charities Children’s Cancer Center. It was there she and her family were told this could possibly be cancer and they wanted to perform a lymph node and bone marrow biopsy.

    The following morning, Kate had surgery and cancer was found in her lymph nodes. She had a total of six rounds of chemotherapy, 14 radiation treatments, and three months of physical therapy.

    To know Kate today, one would never guess she has endured such trauma in her life. She exudes radiance and beauty from within. She has a gift of working with children. Something happened during her months of illness that forever changed the way Kate views life.

    Kate testifies that when she was going through her treatments for cancer, the Lord placed a dream in her heart. He gave her the desire to help other teenagers battling diseases as scary as cancer. Kate heard the voice of the Lord whisper to her, “Kate, I am your Lord and your Shepherd, and I need for you to trust in Me that everything is going to be okay.” She claims the verse in the Bible found in Jeremiah 29:11,

    “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

    While Kate was going through her treatments, she began to notice items that were important for comfort, and some thoughtful gifts were given to her which made her stay more enjoyable.

    That is when the idea of Kate’s Crates was born. Kate and many volunteers stuff wooden crates with items such as: a handmade prayer blanket (the ladies prayer group at Calvary Baptist Church makes them as well as Kate makes a few herself), a body wash, luffa, lotion, a water bottle, iTunes gift card, headphones for music, comfy socks, hand sanitizer, and sometimes hats.

    Each one is individually packed, so not all have exactly the same items.

    As of right now, Palmetto High School’s National Honors Society is responsible for donating most of the items for service hours. Without their help, there is absolutely no way that Kate’s Crates could have reached the capacity that it is now.

    Kate said, “The Lord laid this on my heart to bring a smile and comfort to teenagers going through cancer.

    It’s a direct way to show those going through this disease that good things can come out of horrible situations.”

    Amazingly, Kate says she cannot imagine her life without cancer and she is thankful to have had it.

    She said, “Not only has having cancer given me the opportunity to start Kate’s Crates, but through cancer, I have recently realized that the Lord is calling me to be a pediatric hematology/oncology nurse and I am in the process of starting nursing school. I will never stop bragging on the goodness of the Lord and how He can turn whatever was meant to harm you, into something to give you a hope and a future.”

    Kate’s Crates is hoping to soon become a 501C3 non-profit ministry. News of the ministry is spreading and more people are learning about it and donating items for the crates.

    Kate has also been asked to share her testimony at churches or events, and she is always eager to do so. “I will never forget what the Lord has brought me through, and I hope my testimony can touch someone else’s life who may be going through this disease,” said Kate.

    Perhaps you, the reader, have something that you would like to share for Kate’s Crates. Maybe you sew, or crochet. Maybe you would like to donate money to purchase items for the crates. Whatever the Lord lays on your heart, do it. You will be blessed.