It's an incredible day of victory for a Spokane woman, who thought she may not live to see it. Cat Davis, whose story we've been following since last fall, has now received the stem-cell transplant that will likely save her life.
Four months ago, it looked like today would never come. Four months ago, Cat sat in her North Spokane living room and said, "I need money for my stem cell transplant. That's kind of my last option. I've tried everything else."
Scleroderma had taken so much away from the vibrant woman in her mid-20's. Her skin and organs have been hardening for years, her esophagus was so narrowed, she couldn't eat solid foods. Every day was a race against the clock. If the disease goes too far in her heart and lungs, there's nothing they can do. Time and money were against her. So were the odds.
Spokane rallied. Through coffee and pizza and fun runs and ice cream, the community raised more than $170,000 to help pay for the transplant and other medical expenses. They were touched by her smile and positive attitude. Her story stretched around the world.
Thursday morning in a hospital room in Chicago, Cat got that stem-cell transplant, marking the first day of the rest of her life.
"Transplant is complete! Cat has 14.2 million brand new baby cells circulating in her blood stream It all went as planned." Cat's mom Sally emailed those words to Cat's friends and family Thursday morning. The past few days have been hell for Cat, as chemotherapy killed off her immune system and made her terribly sick. Cat's mom counted down the days leading to transplant day as "minus one" and "minus two" and so forth.
Thursday, a new day.
"A long battle lies ahead," Sally wrote. "We will win the victory. This is Day 0. From now on we count the days as pluses. No more minuses."
Now, the recovery. Cat will spend the next 10 days or so in Chicago, recovering. Then, it's back to Spokane for a long road to full strength. Cat and her family feel the love and prayers all the way from Spokane. Cat's family and friends decorated her room with purple hearts, made at Ben and Jerry's in Spokane during a fundraising drive last year.
"We have saved them all this time for this day," Sally Davis wrote. "They are precious. One of my favorite says, “Fight like a girl!”
She's been fighting long enough. Now, it's time for Cat to rest and get well. And, know that everyone in Spokane is behind her.
Her journey so far has touched so many lives. Now, it's time to save her own.
You can read updates on Davis through her Cure For Cat Facebook page.