"I was in a state of shock. You go from a kid that has a hearing problem to hearing she has a tumor in her head."" — Kurt Johns on the initial diagnosis of brain cancer in his six-year-old daughter.
Katie Johns, center, makes a face at audiologist Katie Kuboushek, right, while her adoptive mother, Andrea Johns, left, during an appointment on Monday, Oct. 12, 2013 at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich. Katie was diagnosed with Pilocyctic Astrocytoma, a type of childhood brain cancer, earlier in 2012 following a hearing test that revealed deafness in her right ear. "I was in a state of shock, her adoptive father Kurt Johns said. "You go from a kid that has a hearing problem to hearing she has a tumor in her head."
Katie holds her head in her hands and leans against the hotel bathroom sink as her father, Kurt, holds a cup of medicine for her to take on Feb. 17, 2013, the night before an MRI in Ann Arbor, Mich. Katie fought as best she could to not take the medicine, saying she didn't like the way it tasted. However, she finally submitted.
During a benefit put on for her, Katie, left, plays with balloons with her father, Kurt, amid the carnival games and doubleheader basketball game on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, at Bullock Creek High School in Midland, Mich. Katie spent much of her time chasing down and hitting the balloons in the air with her friends and family. “That’s the thing I found funny,” Kurt said. “She’s just been playing with the balloons.”
Katie waits in Kurt's jeep on Friday afternoon, Oct. 4, as they prepare to drop her off at her grandparents house before leaving for Washington, D.C to attend the Angels in Adoption ceremony, where they were being honored as one of the "Angels." "You're getting on an airplane. You always say good-bye to your parents and your kids," Kurt said. While in D.C., Kurt's grandfather died and Katie was rushed to the ER with a high fever.
Andrea holds her adoptive son Austin's head still and shaves his hair off as Katie looks over the process, feeling her newly shaven head with her hands on Jan. 22, 2013, After about six weeks of chemo, Katie's hair started falling out in clumps, devastating Andrea but leaving Katie more irritated that her hair would constantly fall into her food. According to Andrea, Katie's motto became "No hair? No problem. Less fuss in the morning." With the decision finally made to shave Katie's hair entirely, Kurt and Austin decided to support her and shave their heads at the same time.
After a full body MRI at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor on August 12, 2013, Katie cringes a nurse takes the needle for the IV out of her skin. Originally, Katie had to be bribed to go the doctors and to do what they ask, but now she takes it all in stride, Andrea said.
Andrea lifts Katie out of a cart after going back to school shopping at Meijer on Thursday, August 22, 2013 in Midland, Mich. The start of the school year was difficult, Andrea said, with Katie's brother Austin starting middle school and her younger sister, Aliyah, starting preschool.
Katie uses chalk to trace around Great Lakes Loons mascot Lou E. Loon during a benefit to raise money for medical bills on Sunday, April 28, 2013 — days after her sixth birthday, which she spent at doctor's appointments in Ann Arbor, Mich. She was scheduled to get a chemo treatment that day, but her white blood cell counts were too low.
Katie takes a sip of her grandfather's drink during a Central Michigan University women's basketball game on Feb. 28, 2013 at McGuirk Arena in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Katie has became an honorary member of the team after player Jessica Schroll found out about her and worked with the Friends of Jaclyn Organization to "adopt" her. Katie even received her own jersey, number 13 1/2.
Katie fiddles with her fishing pole while her brother Austin stands at the edge of his aunt's dock and casts his line into the water on July 3, 2013. The Johns spent the week of the Fourth of July, which also marked one year since Katie's original diagnosis, at Andrea's sisters house on Wixom Lake in Hope Township, Mich.