Go Lucy Go
Lucy Krull was born into a happy, normal, West Tennessee family, who was a little like we all are about our daughters, obsessed with bows, pretty dresses and pretty girls. A month before her fifth birthday, that all changed.
This was a quote from Kate’s blog, which she reiterated in our interview, “Lucy's cancer will not define her. It will not define our family. Rather, we will use this hurdle in our lives to do great things. Lucy is destined for something great. I know she is.” That became their family’s mantra.
On Wednesday, February 23, 2011, Lucy Hannah was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Medulloblastoma. It all came on so quickly that she only presented symptoms for a few days before things started spiraling out of control. Upon an MRI, we learned that Lucy had a total of 5 tumors in her brain, one in her spinal column and a sugar-dusting of tiny tumors up and down her spine. In a whirlwind of events, she was in a 9 hour surgery 2 days later. While the surgery was largely a success, the doctor was unfortunately not able to remove all the tumors and found another one in the front of her brain. She suffered a setback several days after surgery when she contracted bacterial Meningitis. After 28 days at LeBonheur Children's Hospital, she was finally transferred to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
“In itself, the diagnosis was awful, but there was a miracle in it as well. Erik had been involved in research on that particular cancer at St. Jude’s. We knew the treatment plan and had more information about it than most people, much faster.” Kate Krull added, “There have been so very many blessings along the way. God is good, even in adversity.”
Kate wrote, “Lucy began a 6 month treatment plan of high risk chemotherapy and radiation. Her formal treatment stopped in November of 2011. Unfortunately, things only got worse after treatment. Lucy lost over 15 pounds, dropping to 27 pounds at her lowest. She battled C-Diff, an intestinal disease, that slowly tried to take her life. She had a feeding tube placed and that remained with her for roughly 5 months. In June of 2012, Lucy contracted Meningitis once again, this time taking her to the closest point of death yet.
From day one, Lucy has defied the odds as God has proven himself over and over.
“Lucy's story is one of miracles, for sure. But hers is also a story of faith, determination and courage...all wrapped up in one tiny little girl’s body.”
Lucy currently attends school where she works extra hard to overcome the learning challenges she was left with from treatment. Her physical health also keeps the family constantly on our toes.
But never, ever, does Lucy complain. She wakes up everyday with a smile on her face and a song in her heart. Cancer might have tried to take her life but nothing could ever kill her spirit. “
As I read Kate’s blog, my heart listened to the words and broke. You see the family making chocolate covered strawberries for Daddy, all happy, normal things, and then - ‘in the blink of an eye’, their lives completely changed. I could not imagine the pain, the fear, the heartbreak that that diagnosis would bring to a family, ... but I was also amazed at the bravery, the love, and most of all the faith that surrounds their family, Kate, Erik, Ella, Jack and most of all Lucy.
“I was scared, but I had good doctors.” Lucy told me, her little face and eyes looking seriously into mine, “They took really good care of me.” Lucy is so calm, so pragmatic, but she has lived this. She has lived this, and survived. “I like helping the kids, I like giving them books,” Lucy continued, “and we go down and cook them food.” She and her family take books to the ‘LadyBug Library’, named in honor of Lucy. They provide 100-250 books a month to the library, through the foundation that Kate started during all of this. “We take books to them [kids in the neurosurgery department] and tell them if they like it, they can keep it,” Lucy explained, “that’s why we have to take so many there.” They used the LadyBug because it had become the mascot of Lucy’s fight. In every room that she had been in, they had found a LadyBug. Lucy gained courage, and according to her, luck, from that little LadyBug, so it became a fitting mascot for her, and for the Foundation.
Lucy explained her diagnosis, her surgery and the entire process, even showing us her doctor’s book with the picture of an MRI with her brain tumor. The doctor had published her story in hopes that it might help others. She is so earnest and serious about what happened, and where she, and her family, are going from that day that changed their lives in the blink of an eye.
She, and her family, are the Go Lucy Go Foundation. Started as a community wide, then area wide chant - Go Lucy Go! - to help inspire a tiny little girl and her family, the words stuck and they have created the foundation to help others. “We use the money to help bring ‘normal’ back to some of the families that are in crisis. We were lucky and so blessed that we had family and people to help us. Many of the parents and families that are at St. Jude and LeBonheur don’t have back-ups, even to the point of a parent that’s there and the other parent has had to leave to go back to work. We can offer some help, things that can bring some ‘normal’ back to them.” Kate added, “I can remember feeling so blessed, even in the midst of all of this, that I had my family, my Mom and Dad, Erik’s Mom and Dad - I don’t know what we would have done without them.” They provide the commonplace things, like a refrigerator in a hospital room, food in the food pantry, and have helped to provide funds for non-medical things, like electric bills, house payments, things that make lives a little easier. “Their energy needs to be on their sick child, not on other things.” Erik Krull added, “There were so many people that helped us, we feel obligated to help others in their time of crisis.”
There are two fundraisers that power the foundation. The first is the Go Lucy Go Day and Race, this year on April 21st, at the Covington Square. The Race includes a 5k, a 10k, and a Children’s Fun Run - along with a Crawfish Boil/Festival later in the day, complete with live music. The day is a lot of fun and helps Lucy celebrate her birthday. She will be running in the fun run, while big sister Ella will be in the 5k. Later in the Fall, a dinner and auction is held. Lucy attends both events, and is so enthusiastic about the support they are able to offer the families. “I like to help them, because so many people helped me!” Lucy smiled as she finished.
For details on the events, or for more information about Lucy, go to the foundation’s website: