Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bake Sale for Carter THIS WEEKEND!!

Calling all Betty Crockers!.....We need you to grease your pans, grab your spatulas and get to bakin'!! Carter's "MeeMaw", Debbie Taylor and his Aunt, Melissa Taylor are going to host a bake sale during the Craft Show at Stafford Senior High School this Saturday, April 4th from 9AM - 3PM. The School is located at 33 Stafford Indian Lane; Fredericksburg, VA 22405.

Even if you don't have time to bake, pick up some sweet treats at the store and disguise them as your own - I won't tell anyone! :) Debbie and Melissa will be at the school at 6:15AM this Saturday morning, so you can drop your goodies off with them anytime after that. They will even come to you and pick up your baked goods earlier in the week should that work out better for you. If you would like to schedule a "pick-up" or just want more information, please feel free to contact them at the numbers below.

Okay, let's preheat those ovens!

Debbie Taylor (540) 840-6381
Melissa Taylor (540) 840-1165

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Another day, another step in the right direction!

Carter had his weekly checkup with the Oncologist at Children's Hospital this afternoon and it went very well!! Each Thursday, they do his bloodwork, administer extensive neurological testing and regulate his plethora of medications (he has an entire tub of meds at his house dedicated to his treatment). CarterMan could give CVS a run for their money! :)

Results of this week's visit: AWESOME!! The neurological testing showed remarkable improvement on the right side of his body (the arm and leg that have been compromised due to the tumor). He is "much stronger" in the words of his Oncologist. They also said that his eyes are showing much improvement and feel the nerves are starting to repair themselves! YAY!

The results of today's visit/testing proved enough that his steroid dosage was decreased a bit. We're moving in the right direction!! Keep up the bravery, CarterMan... you are doing everything right and proving to be an inspiration of pure spirit for all of us that know and love you!!

Tomorrow is another day and there isn't a doubt in my mind that Carter will kick tomorrow in the butt!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dinner Calendar - Just a few notes....

...You guys are doing a wonderful job with keeping the Harris bellies full! Many thanks for all your efforts!

There have been some questions about the calendar and how to make it work a little smoother. Here are some important notes on keeping it simple:

1) PLEASE remember to add your contact information (NAME + PHONE NUMBER AND/OR EMAIL) to the description of the event (the part that looks like the body of an email). That way, if there are conflicts with someone else who has already "claimed" that date (and this HAS happened), I am able to contact you quickly and easily. Unfortunately, when I am notified of an event being added to the calendar, I cannot see anything but the information you have added to the event. The return address of the email is simply "calendar_monitor", etc., so I have no idea who you are unless you tell me :)

2) Even though you are clicking on the date that you WANT to bring dinner, when you click on "add an event" to that date, you have to again specify the date you want (below the body of the description). Otherwise, it will automatically show up on the calendar as the current day's date (leaving me no way of knowing what day you actually intend to bring dinner - which is why contact info is so important)

I know this all sounds like so much work, but it's really quite simple (I just tend to over explain things just to be safe). I've been told on many occasions - JUST GET TO THE POINT, ALREADY!! :)

I hope this helps all your efforts to be successful! You're a beautiful bunch of people, that's for sure!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Final totals from Silpada Fundraiser are in!!

Unbelievable!!! The final total in sales from the Silpada Jewelry fundraiser is.......wait for it.......wait for it......$6048!! That makes the total amount in proceeds to the Harris family a whopping $1814!!!! BIG thanks to Tracy Sullivan who offered to donate her commissions for the success of this fundraiser! She will be depositing a check in the Carter's Crusaders First Market Bank account in the next week or so. You're awesome, Tracy! Also, many thanks to each and every one of you who made it out to my house to support the fundraiser and to all those who ordered via catalog through Tracy herself. WOW - what a success! Job well done, people ;)

Simply Amazing....

....Carter had his first radiation session that included BOTH Cranial AND Spinal treatments early this morning. The normal session(s) will take approximately 35 minutes, but today's appointment, being the first run at combining Cranial with Spinal took a full hour. Carter really doesn't like to be put to sleep (who does?), so they let him try it awake. Do you know that this little champion didn't even wiggle a toe?? Carter sat perfectly still for the entire hour-long session and came out of the procedure room with a beaming smile on his face. He has every reason to be proud of his accomplishment! The radiology technicians said that, not only have they never seen a 5 year old capable of managing this feat, but there are many adults that cannot sit still-as-a-statue for that duration of treatment. Hooray for CarterMan!!! We are just as proud as you are, buddy!

He will have his first home-bound instructional session this afternoon. His Kindergarten teacher at Grafton Village Elementary, Miss Sheehan, has offered to do his home-bound instruction (she just loves Carter and wouldn't have it any other way). He LOVES school and has had a difficult time with having to abruptly take time off from his curriculum. He misses the time he normally spends with his classmates and friends at school, something awful. This will be very nice for him to get back into the swing of things and also help reestablish some of the self-confidence that has been lost throughout this ordeal.

Another giant step today in the right direction!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Carter's Recent Days....

St. Patrick’s Day proved to be a fun evening for CarterMan and his “girlfriends”. As per Carter’s request, I took Madison and Kaelan over to see him for an impromptu “Green celebration” at his house. Corned Beef and Cabbage and various green cupcakes (decorated by Carter and his little sister, Caroline prior to our arrival) were on the menu.

It did not take long for the festivities to commence – the Nintendo Wii being the most popular of said “festivities”. I would love to see Carter on an actual golf course, because he can certainly crush a golf ball on the Wii (much like his late grandfather, Barry Sale and Uncle Chad Sale on any real course)!

Speaking of golf, Carter’s only request yesterday (March 20, 2009) was to visit and have lunch at Lee’s Hill Golf Club where both his Uncles Chad Sale and Chuck Harris are employed (also the location for a Golf Outing Fundraiser for Carter’s Crusaders on May 21, 2009 – more details to come). Carter had a blast and was very happy to have some much needed time out of the house that did not include heading up to Northern Virginia for radiation and doctors’ appointments. It was a very happy afternoon for him and his family!

Carter has, unfortunately fallen victim to the same stomach bug that has been running rampant in our area and many of our homes, even. As if there weren’t enough for him and his family to deal with, they are hoping to have him come out on the other side by tomorrow (this seems to be a 5 day bug, based on what they have seen in other family members/visitors to the house – UGH). Wash your hands like you have OCD, folks – flu season is here and it is persistent!

Carter has been enjoying the many meals being brought to his home by so many of you – thanks for all you are doing! He has expressed a desire for a returned sense of normalcy to his day-to-day. Being able to sit down with his family to a home cooked meal each night really helps to play a role in fulfilling his wish. Please check the calendar to see if there is a day that may not be taken and may match up with an “open chunk” of your time to prepare (or even purchase) dinner for Carter and his family.

He is still receiving his Monday through Friday radiation (both Cranial and Spinal) at Fairfax INOVA Hospital, with weekly (Thursday) visits to Children’s Hospital in DC directly following radiation, to monitor his vitals and blood work, etc. Chemotherapy is still being administered by way of pills at home (crushed in his applesauce, which he thoroughly enjoys, so it works out well).

Though not quite sure what the side effects of the chemo will be or when they will take place, the “men” of the family have decided to have a good time with it, in hopes of getting Carter involved in the “silliness” of it all. His father, Skip and his uncles, Chad and Chuck shaved their heads tonight (with Courtney’s help) in hopes that Carter will think it’s silly enough to jump on board and do what they have done. After all, we all have to help Carter find some sort of humor in all of this, right? This way, if the rumor is true that the chemo will compromise Carter’s thick head of hair, then it is best we have a head start on his dealing with it, no? Hats off to the brave men in Carter’s family (no pun intended)!! I saw each of these men tonight and I think they look fabulous!!

With Courtney’s help, I am going to attempt to give more frequent, little updates on Carter’s day-to-day goings on, as big or small as they may be. This should prove to be a way for all of us to have a sense of being at his side, running this race right along with him. Because, after all, we are an ARMY OF ANGELS and we cannot be beat!

Friday, March 20, 2009

"Cakes for Carter"

Have a birthday party coming up? Just click here, and Creative Cakes by Janet will take care of your cake needs while also taking care of the Harris Family!! Janet Douglass has graciously offered to donate $40 to the Harris Family for every "Cakes for Carter" order. The cost of the cake is $50 (each cake serves approximately 15 people). Visit her website using the above link for more information!

Janet has also teamed up with Evette Russett to sell Krispy Kreme punch cards (buy a dozen, get a dozen FREE!) as a fundraiser for the Harris Family. If you are interested in purchasing on or two of these cards, and SERIOUSLY - who doesn't like Krispy Kreme doughnuts??, please contact Janet at (540) 903-7233.

Janet will also be hosting an online Pampered Chef party in the month of May - more details to come....

Monday, March 16, 2009

***NEW*** Donate a Dinner to the Harris Family!!!

Sooo many of you have offered to make dinner but didn't know when would be good for the family or if they may already have dinner for a particular night. WELL, it took me a little while, but I finally have an interactive calendar on the blogspot (Thank you to my husband, Kyle for helping with this).

For those of you who may be interested in signing up to donate a dinner to the Harris Family, I need to tell you that they prefer dishes with little to no celery/onions and (as much as we have all tried to tell him he's missing out) - Skip eats NO CHEESE of any kind. I am certain that the family is happy to have dinner of any kind brought to them, but I want to make sure they are able to eat these dinners! :)

Here's what you do:

Located at the top of the light gray section in the right margin is a link to "View the Dinner Calendar". Clicking on this will take you to the interactive dinner calendar.
1) click on any available date
2) select "add an event" on the bottom of the page
3) type WHAT you will be bringing for dinner as the TITLE, then type in your name and contact number in the description. Using this method, everyone can see what has already been planned and that way they won't wind up with lasagna Monday-Friday!
4) ****right below the description is the date/time that you will be bringing dinner. Even though you click on your intended date, this particular field will automatically show the current day's date, so be sure to change it to the date you intend to bring dinner.****

In order to keep spam at bay, your event will not be visible on the calendar until I am able to approve it. In the event of a conflict I will contact you, so please remember to add your contact number.

Thanks to all who have expressed interest in donating dinner(s) to the Harris Family and for those who have already brought a meal! I hope this calendar makes it easy for everyone to participate. Let me know if you have any questions!


Tastefully Simple Fundraiser

Angel (Ladd) Strong, a friend of ours from high school has graciously offered to donate her commission from ALL sales placed though her or her website to the Harris Family. This is effective from today through the end of April. I know a lot of you LOVE tastefully simple, so check your stash and re-up on what you need and/or want by clicking here! Even if you've never purchased or tasted anything from Tastefully Simple, now is the time to try it out - It is sooo yummy and will help out a great cause! Should you have any questions, you can contact Angel Strong directly at (540) 899-9082. Thanks, in advance for your orders!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"News here....get your news here!" .....the latest on Carter

Little Carter-Man proved to himself and everyone around him today that he is, by far, the bravest 5 year old I have ever met! He got a little bit later of a start to his radiation treatment than was previously expected, but needed to have some additional testing before radiation could begin. He was supposed to be sedated for the procedure(s), but due to having already eaten earlier in the day, they were unable to sedate him……BUT, he cooperated nicely and they were able to perform the first treatment with him awake! Way to go, Carter!!!

After an MRI of his spine late last week it was decided that Carter is apparently an enigma of medical science. He is the ONLY known case of a brainstem glioma to have it spread to his spine, forming “deposits” along his spine (it has been seen in older patients, but never in a child his age). On Monday, March 9th, 2009, there was a biopsy taken of his spine to obtain much more detailed information about the tumor and how it was “behaving”. The tumor is directly related to the Central Nervous System and will not spread beyond the tissues of the brain and spine.

Many, if not all of you, have been asking yourselves and others “is it malignant?!?!?” Here is how the doctors have explained it: Regardless of whether or not the tumor or parts of it are malignant, the tumor needs to be treated as such using aggressive treatment due to its locality to the brainstem. Steroids are being used to reduce the pressure and swelling. Radiation is being used to help shrink the tumor and Chemotherapy (in the form of pills administered at home) is being used to kill that sucker!

The Harris family has been blessed with being put in the care of a WORLD-RENOWN doctor by the name of Dr. Roger J. Packer (the Head Neurologist at Children’s Hospital in DC). This man is absolutely wonderful and the family feels like he is a Disciple in their lives.

I spent the evening with Carter and his family tonight, and let me tell you – it was sooo good to see him and know that he is getting better each and every day through this long journey! He is currently sleeping in the comfort of his parents’ bed and will begin another day of heroism tomorrow!

I hope that this answers a great deal of questions that you all have had. I apologize for not having updated sooner. Courtney had asked me to hold off until they had obtained more tangible answers, as they did not know a whole lot more than any of us until just recently. Please check back here as often as you would like. I will continue to post updates as they come from Courtney directly. This will alleviate some stress on her from having to answer so many questions from so many people whose intentions are and will continue to be in the right place. The family is simply amazed by the support they are receiving from the entire community! Many thanks to you from the Harris Family!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Silent Auction Donations needed....

As I have mentioned earlier, we are working on setting up a benefit or two in order to raise funds for the Harris Family as they tackle their medical bills while helping Carter through this healing process. We are going to host a silent auction at each event in hopes of raising additional funds for the cause.

In order to facilitate these silent auctions, we are asking all of you that may own your own business/franchise to consider donating your goods/services to be auctioned off. We have a TaxID# available upon request for your charitable donation. Goods/services can vary in so many ways. We are looking for anything from gift certificates to gift baskets, airline tickets, B&B/hotel stays, cleaning services, catering, jewelry, new clothing/shoes, artwork, golf/sporting items, collectibles such as sports memorabilia, etc. etc. You name it - we're interested! Use your imagination and let us know your ideas!!

Even if you don't actually own your own business/franchise, you may know of someone who does or even have a "friend-of-a-friend" that may have a connection to a business that may be willing to donate goods/services to such a great cause for such a deserving family.

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration. Please contact us with your ideas and/or potential donations:

Rebecca Beggan
(540) 898-6406 HOME
(703) 371-7765 CELL

Ashley Thacker
(540) 775-9355 HOME
(540) 226-5255 CELL

Jennifer Romack
(540) 379-2109 CELL

Monday, March 9, 2009

How to contact the Harris Family...

I have had many people ask me for Courtney and her family's address so that they can send cards, etc. Sooo, here you go:

The Harris Family
14 Glen Oak Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22405

Courtney can be reached via email at courtieharris2@gmail.com

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Can't attend one of our fundraisers? - NO Problem!

We have set up an account specifically designated to "Carter's Crusaders". The account is held at FIRST MARKET BANK. There are several locations here in Fredericksburg:

725 Kenmore Ave
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Salem Church
4250 Plank Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22407

Shannon Park
3301 Shannon Park Dr
Fredericksburg, VA 22408

Twin Lakes
1975 Jeff Davis Highway
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Name of Account:
Carter's Crusaders

Legal Name(for the IRS): Carter W. Harris Guardianship
Tax ID# 26-6806712

You need only mention the name "Carter's Crusaders" to any teller and your donation will be handled accordingly. If writing a check, please make checks payable to CARTER'S CRUSADERS. 100% of ALL donations are given directly to the Harris family for the sole purpose of subsidizing any and all of Carter's treatment costs throughout this ongoing healing process.

We all thank you, in advance, for your donations (monetarily or otherwise) to this crusade for Carter!!

Thank you to Ashley Thacker for setting up this account in Carter's name :)

Courtney's Kelly's Kids Party...

As many of you already know, Courtney is a local representative for Kelly's Kids, boutique children's clothing. She had planned (before these recent events) to give at least three different parties the weekend of March 13-15th. In order to make things easier for her, the other two girls (Ashley Thacker/Sheryl Sparks) and myself have decided to combine our 3 parties into one at my house, Saturday night March 14th @ 6 pm. Courtney receives commission on all items sold at this party. She may not be able to attend, but we're going to host the party on her behalf in hopes that we can have a good turnout and earn her as much commission as possible to help offset their medical bills.

Anyone and everyone are welcome. This is not a formal party....think of it as an open house, starting at 6pm. Stop by, have a glass of wine and see if there is something you may be interested in for yourself (yes - there ARE adult clothes as well), your kids, your grand kids, etc. Every order helps Carter's cause, by way of his mother's commission.

If you are unable to attend, please check out the latest spring line(s) at Kellys Kids and email me should you wish to order so that I can make it count towards Courtney's commission. Thanks!

My address for the party:
9 Garner Drive
Fredericksburg, VA 22405

Call or email me should you have any questions:
(540) 898-6406 - HOME
(703) 371-7765 - CELL

Silpada Jewelry Fundraiser

Tracy (Killian) Sullivan, a local Silpada Jewelry representative (and friend of Courtney) has offered to set up an online/catalog party to help Courtney, Carter and family. There is no specific date of the "party", as you don't actually need to attend anything or be "present" to order. You may go online here to view and order from the current catalog. You may also email Tracy directly at: tracy.sullivan@cox.net.

For those of you that may want to view the jewelry in person. Tracy will have a table set up during my Kelly's Kids trunk show this coming Saturday, March 14th @ 6pm. Please feel free to stop by 9 Garner Drive; Fredericksburg, VA 22405. Feel free to call me with any questions @ 540-898-6406.

Any and ALL proceeds (including Tracy's commission and my hostess credits) will be donated to the general cause of "Carter's Crusaders".

Please take a minute to check out the Silpada line and see if there is something that you may want to purchase in order to help this cause. Thanks!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Carter's Story...

For those of you that don't already know, or are looking for additional information.....here's some information on Carter's diagnosis/prognosis:

First, let me tell you that I am, by no means, a doctor (I don't even play one on TV!). I'm just going to do my best to relay to you the latest information that I have on my little Carter-Man as I have it relayed to me.

In early February 2009, Carter Harris (age 5 and son to Courtney Sale Harris and Skip Harris) started having random moments where one of his eyes would cross in toward the other. After a few days, his parents/friends/family started to notice a more frequent trend to this eye crossing. Courtney took him to a pediatric ophthalmologist in Richmond, where they were told that he needed glasses and that the eye crossing could possibly be attributed to a few viruses he had recently been dealing with and that all should go back to normal in about two weeks. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

After almost two weeks and several other symptoms popping up (slurred/slow speech, excessive drooling, extreme loss of equilibrium and some loss of fine motor skills), Courtney took him back to his pediatrician (Dr. A Bradshaw @ ABC Pediatrics - who is PHENOMENAL) at which time the Dr. ordered a CT Scan of the brain to rule out any tumors, etc. Nothing in the results seemed to be of concern.

...Back to waiting out the remainder of the "approximately two weeks until everything gets back to normal following recent viral issues"....Carter was still showing the symptoms of something that needed to be addressed and further looked into. Courtney pressed on with the Pediatrician and was able to obtain a work-in appointment with Dr. Bradshaw's Pediatric Neurologist that visits her office once a month. She was in on Friday, February 27, 2009. After the Pediatric Neurologist administered some extensive neurological testing, she didn't like what she saw and wanted to have an MRI done of the brain. In Fredericksburg, the waiting period for such a test would have exceeded 7-10 days. The Pediatric Neurologist chose to do a "direct-admit" to INOVA Fairfax Hospital in NoVa to ensure that testing be done STAT.

Carter was admitted to INOVA FFX on Friday night (2/27/09) and was given an MRI that next morning. The results of the MRI showed a fairly large tumor located on his brain stem. More specifically, it is referred to as a BRAIN STEM GLIOMA. Due to the positioning of the tumor, it is inoperable. Biopsying the tumor would be too dangerous. Additional MRI testing of his spine - administered this morning - (being that the spine is so closely related and centrally located to the brain stem) shows that there is a 99.9% chance that the tumor has not spread to other parts of Carter's body.

He and his parents (et. al.) have been up and down the I95 corridor since last Friday and will continue this trend for the next few months. He got his Pick Line put in today (a semi-permanent port put into his arm so that medications can very easily be administered on a regular basis without having to constantly IV this little boy). He will need to be sedated for each and every radiation treatment which begin on Monday, March 9, 2009. He will receive radiation Monday through Friday for the next six weeks. At the three to four week mark, the doctors (both Oncologists and Neurologists) are interested in getting Carter involved in a case study at the National Institute of Health (NIH) located in Bethesda, Maryland. These case studies provide the latest treatment/medicinal options available to certain medical conditions. The doctors are very hopeful that these latest breaks in technology will help to manage Carter's condition.

Carter is still receiving intensive steroid treatment in addition to radiation in hopes of exploring every avenue available in order to shrink this tumor with success. Although chemotherapy may have to be used, they are trying to avoid that at all costs. The ultimate goal is to shrink the tumor to a manageable size so that Carter can continue to live his wonderfully, innocent life with the great enthusiasm that his intelligent little mind always has!

Carter remains in good spirits. He's about as afraid as any 5 year old in his situation would be, but he's been such a trooper through all this. Sure, he misses the continuity of seeing his classmates at school each day and regular play dates, etc. But he's been a very brave 5 year old. His family, friends and I are very proud of him for that!

I will continue to keep you posted on the goings on of this crusade toward a healthy Carter Harris as it unfolds. There are armies of "angels" praying for this little boy and his family/friends. We are working on several benefits to try to help offset the family's medical bills as much as possible. This is going to be a very long road on so many levels. Your support is very appreciated. I will keep you up to date on ways that you can help this family get through this. It truly does "take a village" in most cases. There has been a HUGE outpouring of support from so many people and I know it has meant and will continue to mean a great deal to Courtney and her family.

Thank you and please check back frequently for updates, as I will do my best to keep things current. God Bless you all and God Bless Carter W. Harris and family!