As told by Erin Kiltz
On June 5, 1995 at 4:00 am, we were told that our daughter, Gracie Kiltz would not survive past noon.
John and I quickly proceeded out to the visitor’s waiting room of ICU to check on our son Riley, who had no idea what was taking place. Why should he be suspect? He had experienced the emergency room for the sake of his sister a dozen times before with spiked temperatures due to the most aggressive form of leukemia that Gracie had been battling for 10 months.
As we greeted him, he enthusiastically reported he had drawn me a picture and it had a story.
With the recent news of her prognosis, I didn’t know if I could endure a juvenile’s imaginative pictorial report of his artwork. However, as he began to speak, I was frozen by the message of his story regarding Gracie’s climb up the mountain. Riley stated, “I drew a picture for you mommy of Gracie climbing a mountain.
It has three faces on it.
The first face on the mountain is mad because the mountain is so big.
The second face is sad because she doesn’t think she can make it up the mountain.
And the third face is happy and smiling because she knows she can make it to the top!
Through my tears, I told Riley it was the most beautiful picture he had ever drawn for me and it would be framed and hung in our home very soon. Of course, one of my close friends sitting with Riley heard his story and my response, and immediately had it framed. It hung in Gracie’s ICU room for two weeks.
Without a chance of survival, our Gracie is now a beautiful young lady of 19 with a miraculous smile that lights up everyone’s world. Gracie does that for her family everyday.
A few years later Gracie and our family along with 9 other friends ascended a 14,000 foot mountain in Lake City, Colorado. The journey took 9 nine hours. Every 100-200 yards Gracie was transferred in a backpack to another willing friend on the climb. Once we reached the top we prayed and sang Amazing Grace! We stand in awe of all God has accomplished through Gracie’s upward climb. We give all the praise and honor to our Lord Jesus Christ. As you all journey up another climb on a different continent, know that Gracie’s story continues to inspire our service to the bone marrow transplant unit of Texas Children’s Hospital and His Grace Foundation applauds your courage and endurance as well as our young patients!