Hannah Walker, a 17-year-old student from Sonoma Valley High School, has been fighting cancer for more than four years. She has recently relapsed and has just started months of additional treatment, according to relatives. She needs the support of the Sonoma community, said friends and family, who contact the Index Tribune.
Katie Biggs Walker, single mother of Hannah and two other children, Emma and James, grew up in Sonoma and was at Sonoma Valley High in 1996 before her family moved in 1994.
Over the past year, Katie says she needed to balance COVID and Hannah’s relapse while keeping her family together.
“COVID is what makes this really difficult because I can’t bring that back to Hannah – not even a cold can bring her back,” said Katie Walker.
In 2013, Hannah was diagnosed with a mixed phenotype, Philadelphia positive leukemia, two types of leukemia: AML and ALL. She was on and off treatment for years and has recently relapsed. She needs a bone marrow transplant that will be donated by her 10-year-old sister, Emma.
“She’s very bravely volunteering to do this for her sister,” said Katie Walker. “She’s my brave superhero.”
Hannah is undergoing treatment at UCSF Benioff Children’s Mission Bay and will not see her siblings from now until September, maybe even longer. While her treatments continue, her family needs help to watch over her siblings while her mother is with her.
“We’re desperately trying to find daycare for someone who can come and stay with the kids, and keep everything as routine and structured and stable as possible, as they prepare to lose their mother and sister for months,” said Katie Walker.
The Walker family has not been in Sonoma very long and they are adjusting to be in a place where they don’t know that many people.
“With the relapse and COVID, I stopped working – February was my last month of work,” said Katie Walker. “I’ve been home trying to organize and clean everything and prepare for what lies ahead.”
Katie Walker has posted ads on Care.com and Sitter City hoping to find a full-time nanny, but has had no luck. She is looking for someone who can isolate herself with her children, as she has yet to see them while Hannah is under treatment.
Hannah will be home for six weeks for outpatient chemotherapy and blood transfusions before being admitted for the actual bone marrow transplant in May. It’s scheduled for around May 28th, and she’ll be hospitalized for about eight to twelve weeks.
There is a GoFundMe page in Hannah’s name at gofundme.com/f/2bi3o7mnxc, hosted by friend Cassie Kackley to support the Walker family and their caregiver needs and medical expenses.
“I don’t need a fufu nanny to come in and make my life easy,” said Katie Walker. “I need someone here to love and care for my children so that I can help my daughter survive this.”