At 24-years-old, a Spokane woman should have her whole life ahead of her. Instead, Cat Davis is facing a ticking time bomb. Diagnosed two years ago with a disease that is slowly killing her, Davis has one last hope to save her life.
In kitchens all across America, adult children are helping their parents manage their daily lives. But, in the Davis house in North Spokane, the dynamic is tragically reversed. In June, Cat Davis moved home with her parents, not because of job loss or economic struggles. Cat moved home because she can't live without her mom anymore.
"She would have to get up at 6:30 so I could help her shower. And, get her hair washed and the band-aids on her fingers," Sally Davis explains, describing a typical day at home with Cat. She never imagined she'd be dressing and combing her daughter's hair at 24.
Cat knows what people see when they look at her. She's a healthy, vibrant young woman with the kind of smile typically reserved for toothpaste commercials. What you can't see is that systemic Scleroderma is hardening her body, inside and out.
"Scleroderma has tightened my esophagus," Cat explained about a recent doctor's order not to eat solid foods. "Because it's really small, I can't get anything down."
Cat's tissue is rock hard to the point she can no longer straighten her left arm. Her heart and lungs are hardening, too. Her skin is so sensitive, even a hug sometimes hurts too much. When doctors told her this disease would kill her she was just 22-years-old.
"I thought I would be the mother of the bride and having more grandchildren," Sally said about the life she and her daughter are now leading.
But through this hell, there's hope.
"I need money for my stem cell transplant," Cat said. "That's kind of my last option. I've tried everything else."
Without a stem cell transplant, Cat has one year to live at best. Without $150,000, there will be no transplant. Insurance won't cover the procedure; time is running out.
"The hardest thing for me in all of this to watch my daughter dying before my very eyes," Sally said. "And, it's money that's keeping us from that happening. But, she's dying before my very eyes and I can hardly stand it."
So, what do you do? You fight. And, ask for help. And, most of all, you pray. Because without their faith, the Davises know this fight would be a lot harder.
"I get through it because she's my daughter," Sally said, matter-of-fact about what comes next. "Of course, I would do anything. I would lay down my life for her."
Cat's former classmates in the Northwest Christian Class of 2006 won't stand idly by, either. They've launched an all-out effort to raise money for that transplant. They have a lofty goal: $150,000 in four weeks.
They have a website, a 5k planned and other fundraisers throughout the fall. Dutch Bros is stepping into help. Saturday, they're selling all medium drinks for $2, with $1 from each drink going to Cat. Major League baseball player Jeremy Affeldt is helping, too; he's matching every dollar raised at Dutch Bros Saturday.
There's no time to waste. The disease is progressing every day.
"I'm only 24, I have a lot of life to live."
Fortunately for Cat, your mom never stops being your mom. Cat has her mom's fighting spirit - and, a grace the world can't afford to lose.
"I'm glad I have it," Cat said of the disease that is now killing her. "Because I know I'm strong enough. And, I don't wish this on my worst enemy."
For more information about the fundraisers and how you can help, check out her website Cure For Cat.