Katie Leaves State For Treatment
By kathryn garcia Caller-Times May 9, 2006
Katie Wernecke, who was at the center of a state custody battle last year, was withdrawn from Banquete Junior High School last month and has moved out of state with her father to receive a new alternative cancer treatment.
The 13-year-old eighth-grader and her father, Edward Wernecke, are staying at an undisclosed treatment center out of state where they could be for months, Edward Wernecke said during a brief phone conversation Monday.
"I really can't say anything because it could jeopardize her treatment," Wernecke said. He would not elaborate on the treatments or where they were, saying the treatment center requested the family not speak with media.
He did, however, say the treatment was beyond the alternative intravenous Vitamin C injections that Katie had been receiving three times a week at her Agua Dulce home since November, when she returned home and went back to school.
Banquete Junior High Principal Eusebio Torres said that before Katie left in early April, she seemed weaker, more tired and wasn't acting herself, but he, the staff and the students remain hopeful.
"We told her dad that when she feels better, we hope to see her again and if not this year, then maybe next year in high school," Torres said. "We just don't know. Nobody knows."
Child Protective Services removed Katie from her home in June after her parents refused radiation treatments for Hodgkin's disease because they feared the potential side effects. Katie was reunited with her parents and three brothers in November after a five-month legal battle that reached the Texas Supreme Court. Ultimately, a district court judge ruled that Katie be returned to her parents and that they be allowed to make all her medical decisions.
While in state care, Katie underwent chemotherapy treatments at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where doctors in November gave her as little as a 25 percent chance of survival, down from 85 percent in August. Dr. Ron Hunninghake, who treated Katie with the intravenous Vitamin C treatment, said in November that Katie had a better-than-average prognosis.
Hunninghake did not return phone calls Monday.
Katie's mother, Michele Wernecke, wouldn't comment about her daughter's condition and treatment, but said she was optimistic and missed Katie being at home with her and her three other children, who still are enrolled in Banquete schools.
"God willing, everything is going to be OK," she said.
Katie's former language arts teacher Gracie Bourlon hopes the same. She said she even keeps Katie's notebook for when she returns.
"She's like a best friend that lives far away and when she comes back, it will be like she never left," Bourlon said.
It's been more than a month since 12-year-old Shelby Rebecek has seen her friend. The last time she saw her, Katie was a guest at her birthday party.
"We're hoping for the best," Shelby said. "It's scary to us because we're so close to it."
Copyright 2006, Caller.com. All Rights Reserved.
(Note the above article was published without our conscent and is very inaccurate. We are not in hiding and did not move out of state. We have actually already been to 5 states for treatments. A companion Washington Times article is titled: "Texas Cancer Girl Receives Secret Treatment". On a condition of receiving treatments there can be no publicity at all. That is why there has been no communication on this website for months. We cannot tell you what we are doing or where we are at simply because the doctors and hospital would refuse to continue treatments. Katie's tumor grew in March but now is receding with the new treatments. Katie is doing very well and has 2 inch long curly hair now.