The little girl’s name is Caitlin Soleil Lucas, or Caitie. She is 3 years old and diagnosed with a rare kind of cancer.
It all started with ‘insect bite’-like rashes that showed up on her legs last September. This progressed to critical symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, enlarged spleen and liver, abnormal CBC and chronic diarrhea, among others. Caitie has since gone through a series of procedures and tests for life-threatening diseases, including bone marrow aspirations and blood transfusions.
Because of the rarity of her condition, Caitie’s family had to go through the agony of not having a diagnosis for over two months, and therefore not having a definite treatment plan. Finally, after transferring to Singapore to seek more advanced medical testing and treatment, the doctors have arrived at a diagnosis.
She is diagnosed to have Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia, a rare form of leukemia that affects 1.2 out of one million children ages 4 and below.
It’s heartbreaking to imagine how it must be like for a 3 year old to go through so much pain. Caitie was born only a few months ahead of our daughters, Dawn and Rain, which is probably why her journey hits so close to home.
Every day when I check Courageous Caitie’s Facebook Page (the only reason why I find time to check Facebook at all lately), my heart would break into tiny pieces and overflow with so much love at the same time. And every day, thousands of us would find ourselves drawn in to the journey of this little girl, who at such a young age has shown exemplary trust, obedience and love for Jesus; and a positive disposition amidst her daily challenges.
As a mother of two 3-year olds, I have an idea what it’s like when girls (this age) are sick or in pain. And I find it amazing how Caitie is able to handle her condition with composure and understanding that’s beyond her years.
My heart goes out to Caitie’s parents, Feliz and Jayjay, who for sure have shed a lot of tears, yet, still manage to rise above their struggles each day and be strong for their little girl. I see photographs of them with brave and genuine smiles on their faces—the kind that can only come from hearts that are fully secured, surrendered, and at peace in the Lord.
Everyday this family chooses to believe that the Lord remains true to His promises, that He is in full control of the situation and that His plans are best. They choose to see beyond Caitie’s pain, and focus their eyes instead on God’s glory, goodness, and purpose.
While it’s easy to question and doubt God in painful situations like this, Feliz and Jayjay press on. They share their family’s journey and God’s message of hope on their blog and Caitie’s FB Page as much as they can, believing in their hearts that God’s plan for Caitie is beyond battling this rare disease. Surely He’s doing something bigger than our minds can conceive. Surely He is bigger than any of the battles we have to face in this world.
There’s so much we can learn from this beautiful story that the Lord is writing on the pages of Caitie’s life. To live each day with profound appreciation for this life God has given us. To find courage and peace in the midst of pain. To believe that His grace is sufficient and our strength is not our own. To trust, praise, and hope in God even when we do not understand—Especially when we do not understand.
And if a 3-year old battling cancer can grasp these truths with such grace and childlike faith, how else can the rest of us not believe?
After Caitie’s courageous battle against lukemia, she passed away in the morning of March 31, 2016 and her body was cremated on April 3. Through her life many have come to know the saving knowledge of Jesus, and I join in the thousands of people who celebrate her courage and her life well lived. My prayers go out to Feliz and Jay and the whole family as they go through this new normal. They’re heroes, not just to Caitie’s eyes, but ours too.
Support Courageous Caitie’s Legacy
The Courageous Caitie team continues to raise funds as they carry on with Caitie’s legacy, their desire to help other immuno compromised children and their families. Follow Courageous Caitie’s Facebook page to know more.