Saturday, March 5, 2011

Karen speaks

My wife and I just spent a wonderful couple of days with our dear friend Karen Gerstenberger. We're working together on a video project focusing on family-centered care based on Karen's family's cancer journey, which began in the fall of 2006 with their daughter Katie's diagnosis. Karen's ability to revisit such difficult times and still be able to pick the perfect words to express her feelings is an absolute gift. Having a couple of video cameras pointed at her had to make it more difficult but that didn't even seem to phase her one bit.

Heidi and I witnessed something incredible these past two days; a mother's undying love for her daughter. It's been almost four years since Katie's life was cut short by cancer but she is remembered and honored every day and in every step that Karen takes. Through sharing her family's most difficult and most emotional moments and chronically the tragic loss of dear Katie, Karen hopes to help improve the way hospitals treat the critically ill as well as to help families that might unexpectedly find themselves in a similar life and death struggle. There is a fellowship amongst those whose lives have been turned upside down and changed forever by cancer or other life threatening illness. Those looking in from the outside can never know what it really is like unless they join the club at some point in their lives. The by product of listening however, is a truly wonderful thing...compassion. And compassion is something that can affect positive change anywhere it is directed. That is the goal of the project that Karen and I are working on.

I am truly blessed and honored that Karen is willing to share her story with me in hopes of helping others.
March 4, 2011 at Karen's home
Karen & Katie, just two weeks before Katie passed away in August, 2007


  1. I just love you & your family. xoxoxoxoxo

  2. That picture takes my breath away every time I see it. I am so lucky to call Karen my friend and I have Katie to thank for our friendship. XOXO