Catie's connection with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was told in a Paul Grondahl story in the Sunday Times Union on December 22, 2002.
Clifton Park NY -- Once upon a time, a little girl who believed in magic fell in love with the Harry Potter books her mom read to her. Her name was Catie Hoch.
One day, doctors found a tumor in her kidney. She was 6. Neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer, quickly spread to her liver, lungs and spinal column.
Surgeons removed her kidney and adrenal gland, three-quarters of her liver and portions of her lungs. She endured seven rounds of high-dose chemotherapy, radiation and numerous clinical drug trials. They made her violently ill. The sparkle drained from her blue eyes. She lost her curly blond hair.
"She never complained or asked, why me?" Catie's mom said. "She was a ray of sunshine." (read more)
The story was picked up in the
Letters published in Time the following week:
"The Real Magic Of Harry Potter" brought tears to my eyes, not just for the account of author J.K. Rowling's long-distance friendship with Catie Hoch, the young American fan befriended by Rowling as the girl was dying of cancer but also because of the far-reaching effects the Potter stories have on people of all ages..."
LORI MUSA Henderson, Nev.
"...While I've always admired Rowling as a writer, when I read of her emailing Catie Hoch and reading the fourth book aloud to her on the phone, my respect for Rowling as a person increased enormously.
Please, Ms. Rowling, ignore the critics! Your understanding of the human condition clearly surpasses theirs."
ELAINE PAPPAS-PUCKETT Laguna Niguel, Calif.