As journalists, we meet ALL KINDS of people and cover all kinds of stories. There are days when we are shaking our heads and pulling our hair out because of the things we hear and see. We cover some horrible things.. and there are times we start to question people in general. And then.. you have a week like I just had and your faith is completely restored.. and then some.
Thanks to Casey Charf for the photo!
I’ve been talking with Casey Charf for the last two weeks or so, first connecting with her just days after she was involved in a terrible car accident near Valley. Casey and her best friend, Alle, both suffered broken backs and necks. I interviewed Alle and her cousin, Connor Gourley, about the accident and their message to everyone to wear seat belts. Casey couldn’t do an interview that day.. and I later found out she was already dealing with something we wouldn’t know about until Monday night.. that doctors, running tests after the crash, found a massive tumor near Casey’s kidney. Casey’s body had been hiding cancer.
Casey is 18, GORGEOUS, and says she had no symptoms that anything was wrong. Her cancer is called Malignant Pheochromocytoma, and there are only 1,000-1,500 people in the entire U.S. who have it. Casey and her family agreed to talk us to and share their story because they were desperate for answers, desperate for support, desperate for Casey’s Cure.
Through a donation website, Casey’s friends and family helped raise $8,000 before our story aired Monday night. Today, that fund has topped $40,000.
Our newsroom was inundated Tuesday with emails, messages and phone calls from survivors and doctors around the country, hoping they could offer Casey some hope.
Casey herself received messages over Facebook from strangers across the country, just to let her know they were thinking about her.
Merely as the reporter sharing Casey’s story and just watching from the outside.. I am BLOWN AWAY by the generosity, caring and support I’ve seen in the last few days. It is truly incredible. When I walked in yesterday and opened my email account, I was near tears seeing email.. after email.. after email.. asking how they could help. There are donors on her website, who gave $5 anonymously.. just to help her family in some way. The doctor we interviewed Tuesday by phone, one of the nation’s leading experts on Casey’s cancer at the National Institutes of Health, is willing to see Casey immediately.
We’ll follow along with Casey every step of her journey. Tonight at 10–we’re there as she speaks at her high school graduation, neck brace and all, inspiring even more people.
It’s so cliche.. but I can’t help but think of a quote from Anne Frank: “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.“
Casey’s story is PROOF of that. There is so much good in people. Thank you, Omaha and beyond, for sharing that.
A HUGE thank you to KETV photojournalist Ashley Nodgaard, my ‘other-half’ in sharing Casey’s story!!