Tuesday, January 18, 2011



Posted 1 day ago

Riley is feeling well. She was discharged today and has been resting well. Her pain has been minimal and almost gone since yesterday.

Tomorrow we will leave for New York for her next infusion this week.

We are thankful for His protection. Hopeful for His plan and healing.

Resting today and moving on tomorrow,

Kirk & Kelly

P.S. Thank you for all the ideas and offers to help about a skiing trip. We will be looking over things and try to get in touch with everyone who has called/emailed.

Friday, January 14, 2011

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Resting in His Hands Update on Riley

Posted 58 minutes ago

Riley is resting well after surgery. Surgery went well. The tumors were removed and there was no sign of it spreading to her chest wall.

She is now in the ICU until her chest tube can be removed. Hopefully just a few days until she can be released and we will go to NY. She is in room 203 and might be up for visitors tomorrow. Please call before you come and make sure you have been feeling well.

Rejoice in His plans and grace. His healing.

Kirk & Kelly

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Newest update...

Staying in the Boat

Posted 11 hours ago

We just finished talking with surgery again tonight. Surgery is planned for Thursday, Jan 13th.

Friday’s scans disappointedly showed that Riley’s tumors have grown quickly and significantly, but no new spots have appeared, which is encouraging considering Riley‘s past history of aggressive and spreading disease without treatment. So without new disease we are hopeful the experimental therapy has helped.

We have had difficult discussions with our doctors, those in NY, each other, and Riley.

Medically we are walking down unknown territory. Unproven and unpredictable. Honestly, if we were giving medical advice to our patients, we may not be able to see the potential for benefit. But we don’t see any other option and we don’t see Riley has anything to lose. Plus we have stepped into the boat of immunotherapy and we don’t feel like we can jump out of the boat just because it is not looking exactly as we had hoped. We are praying land is just beyond the horizon. Of course, with surgery we have risk for complications, but every time Riley had chemo in the past she had risk, transplant was very risky, and if we do nothing it will be only a matter of time before she has the ultimate complication from her disease.

How did we get here? A friend forwarded a devotional to us this week which helped. It described a line of faith and the difficulty of stepping over the line to reach your goal. Only faith has carried us this far, so we keep stepping and we keep believing in Him and in His healing power and healing Will.

Our current prayer needs are for strength and wisdom, peace and healing. We pray the FDA will approve more treatments (we should hear their answer by Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning - if further treatments are not approved, surgery would provide no long term benefit). Our prayers for surgery include the safe removal of the tumors in the right lung without evidence of spread of tumor to the chest wall, avoidance of infection, control of pain, and quick recovery. Speedy recovery so we can travel to NY for another infusion of immunotherapy cells. No new spots to develop and for the spot on the left side to grow slowly, stay stable or shrink until it can be removed in a month after her recovery from this surgery.

We love the support we have been given. Faithful believers who support us as we step “over the faith line.” We hear of the miracles granted to those in the Bible, but we don’t know how Abraham felt while waiting for His promises to be shown. At an old age without children, he must have thought himself a little crazy. He must have wondered how his descendents would be more numerous then the stars in the sky. So too, do we believe and yet we can only wonder how it will come to pass.

Riley is feeling good. She says “okay” to surgery now and again in a month if needed. She won’t admit any concern and doesn’t act as if she has any. She is at peace, so we also will rest, trusting in His plan.

Staying in the boat trusting He will keep us safe and believing land is just beyond the horizon,

Kirk & Kelly

P.S. We don’t usually ask for such help, but Riley wants to go snow skiing for her first time. We would love to have the chance and think we could “squeeze” it in in about 3 weeks. If anyone has any advice for a good place to go with 4 kids that have never skied (or a place to stay available the week of Feb 6th) please contact us.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Please pray for Riley

Be Still and Believe

Posted 6 hours ago

Exodus 14:13-14 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

We have spent the last 3 weeks trying to stay calm and be still as we wait and believe in the healing power and promise of Our Lord which was gifted to us through the sacrifice of His Son on the Cross.

Time has passed so quickly since we last updated. We apologize for not posting earlier, but we have been enjoying the Christmas season and after days of reflecting and praying about our next step we have just finally secured a plan which feels right for us and guided by God.

Thanks to “Andy‘s Special Friends”, We were blessed to be able to visit Myrtle Beach the weekend after Riley’s scans. Andy’s Special Friends is an organization that hosts families of kids with cancer to a weekend of shows and fun. Special attention was given to the kids and after the shows we were even able to meet the cast. Leaving Myrtle Beach we traveled to NY for Riley’s 4th immunotherapy treatment. While we were up in New York we spent a couple of days enjoying the city. The city was busy and full of energy and Ella said it best as we walked 5th Ave., “Now this is a lot of people.” We went on a carriage ride in Central Park, enjoyed the Rockettes and skated at Rockefeller center. We came home and Riley‘s chicks hatched on Christmas Eve. We now have 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 10 chicks. Of course next she wants a goat! Christmas was blessed and cold with snow followed by a New Year’s Day that was warm enough to swim. We thank God for all the great times with family and friends and for all the memories made. You can see pictures of the above at the following link: (copy and paste the address in your browser if needed).


Despite all the enjoyable commotion, our latest news with scans still remained a prominent thought. The doctor in NY who initiated the immunotherapy suggested the possibility that the spots have gotten bigger and denser again on CT because the WBC’s have invaded the area to attack the cancer. We hope and pray this is truly the case. If this is true then we would expect the tumors to gradually reduce in size as the cancer is destroyed by the WBCs. The FDA required a 3 week break before we could continue with more infusions. So we met with the surgeon in NY while there before Christmas and Riley told us it was ok to have surgery as long as it didn’t interrupt Christmas or Ashlyn’s birthday. With those guidelines we planned surgery in NY for 1/6, but as time approached we developed some concerns about traveling for surgery and so we changed our mind and over the past 3 days we have arranged surgery here at home instead. This we hope will be much better on Riley and the family. We are at peace with our decision and we feel it is best for us all. So plans are now made to have surgery to remove the spots on the right lung next Thursday 1/13/2011 if they haven’t improved or resolved on CT which is scheduled for Friday 1/7/2011. If the spots remain then pathology would help us know if the treatment is changing her cancer and if the cells are attacking the tissue. With scans tomorrow we pray and believe in God’s healing plan and we hope that all spots are getting smaller or are gone so we can avoid surgery. Please pray and believe with us. We know the believing part can be tough, but we ask you to take a risk and jump out with us on this limb of trust knowing that God’s desire is for Riley’s full healing. Then thank God for the healing He has already preformed on Riley and on all of us.

How with all the medical facts staring us in the face do we keep seeing something different? How do 2 physicians keep hoping for what we do not see? It hasn’t been easy. We look to Him and we continue to see peace on Riley’s face.

During Advent, the Gloria (a song of praise at the start of mass) is omitted. On Christmas Eve, since Christ had come, we were once again able to sing the Gloria. I cried as Riley sang the Gloria with the same excitement she always does. It really illustrated the period of absence during Advent as we waited for Christ’s coming and then praise that filled the air when He arrived on Christmas as we were able to sing the Gloria once again. We celebrated His greatest gift to us - Jesus who was only born to save us. We celebrated and are thankful for His presence. For He was, He is, and He forever shall be the same Jehovah Rapha or Lord who heals you.

After Christmas, I found Riley’s Santa letter jotted in a notebook. She has given me permission to let you read it.

“Dear Santa Claus,

Please tell your elfs and your wife to pray for me. All I want for Christmas is to be healed foever. Oh and I want my family and friends to not to have cancer too. So please ask God to help you with this gift. If you are not able to get this gift, just get me an x-box 360.”

Riley says so much in her letter yet simply asks for prayers for her cure. She knows only God can heal her and even tells Santa to ask God. Since Santa did bring the X-box, we were worried she would feel this meant her true request wasn’t answered. She said she wasn’t worried and she knew that healing could only come from God. So we pray and we wait.

Yet again, we pray and hope that surgery doesn’t have to be done. We hope His healing is evident to her doctors. We have been reading more on His healing power. I have always seen passages about healing and always felt that although Jesus healed, the message was about spiritual healing. However, through reading the book “Christ the Healer”, we have seen so much more. God never changes and He never lies. If He healed in the bible, He still heals today. Riley knows this and we believe with her. We ask you to take this leap with us, believe His power is already working in her and we will be blessed to see it some day.

Some passages that we are currently focusing on are below. We still have so much to learn but His message of healing is throughout the bible.

After the Israelites cried out in the desert as Pharaoh chased them, Exodus 14:13-14 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Once they had crossed the Red Sea, the Israelites cried out again. Exodus 15:25-26 There the LORD issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. He said, “If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”

After Jesus was resurrected and just before he ascended into heaven, Mark 16:15-18 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

And in James 5:13-16 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Pastor Gaskins is the preacher who anointed Riley last month. He has kept in contact since and has called us a couple of times. I think he said it best “Riley believes what the rest of us say we believe.” We see Riley live the passages above. She waits for God to do her battle, she doesn’t rush Him. She knows He is her healer. She knows because Jesus was born and although without blame or illness, he died for us to bring us back in communion with God. To be forgiven and to be healed.

I pray her healing will be manifested so she can continue to preach the gospel in the way she lives. In 4 and ½ years, Riley has never been the fighter - just the one who lives.

So we prepare and we wait. We wait to see his Mighty power. We believe it is to come, but don’t know yet when. Join us in this belief and sing praise for what He has already done.

Holding still, holding strong, and believing,

Kirk & Kelly