Karla Peter was recently asked to be an honoree for an organization called Pray for Gray. Karla was diagnosed with a Stage II astrocytoma brain tumor in September 2012 after having a seizure while watching her oldest son, Trevor, and the rest of the Quarrier football team playing against West Central. After being taken to Avera McKennan Hospital that evening and spending a week in the hospital, the diagnosis of an inoperable tumor was made. Karla promptly underwent 27 radiation treatments which were very effective in shrinking the original 6.5 cm mass to .4 mm. Routine MRIs followed. Unfortunately, the MRIs began to show growth in the tumor starting in January 2014. Further doctoring ensued, including a visit to Mayo Clinic in April. It was then decided to begin oral chemotherapy treatments which are what Karla has been taking since that time.
Pray for Gray is a 501c3 non-profit brain tumor organization based out of Fargo, North Dakota, which also includes folks from Minnesota and now South Dakota, as well. This organization was founded by brain tumor survivor, Julie Fletcher. Founding Pray for Gray was part of her dream to raise funds to be used to further the research of, find better treatments for and, ultimately, help provide hope for all those affected by this disease.
Karla and Julie began communicating after being ‘introduced’ to each other by a coworker of Karla’s whose son had also been diagnosed with a brain tumor and had been a past honoree for this organization. Karla quickly learned that she and Julie had many things in common which was very refreshing. After various conversations, Julie asked Karla to be an honoree for the 6th Annual Pray for Gray Silent/Live Auction and Dinner which was held September 12, 2014, in Fargo, North Dakota.
In preparation for this event, Karla and her oldest son, Trevor, made the trip up to Fargo to be interviewed. This interview was videoed and later played during the Dinner/Auction event. There were three honorees for this year’s event – two adults and one child. Each story was touching, heart-wrenching and moving in its own way. The evening’s events started with a silent auction, dinner, a program then a live auction of many amazing items. The first item presented for the live auction was a case of toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper! Trevor really wanted to bid on this item. After a few glances back and forth, Karla gave Trevor the go-ahead to bid which he promptly did. The auctioneer paused a moment non-verbally asking for the ‘OK’ to take his bid. After receiving that, he proceeded to say, “This young man now has the bid for $400, can I get $500?” Needless to say they were shocked, but luckily for only a short period of time with other bids being promptly shouted out. In the end, the case of toilet paper brought $1,500…but only after the final bidder verified that it was 4-ply and not just 3-ply! That started the Live Auction out in a BIG way with many fine people donating a lot of money to this cause.
Pray for Gray will be sponsoring Trevor as a wrestler at Dakota Wesleyan University, as part of their efforts to grow and become better known as an organization in South Dakota. If anyone is interested in more information about Pray for Gray, Karla may be contacted. She would be happy to talk with you about its goals and mission.
Brain cancer is an unpredictable, devastating, fear-invoking disease. Karla is currently a two-year survivor who feels physically strong and very healthy for which she is very thankful! She is most thankful for the awesome, constant support, encouragement, kindness and generosity shown to her and her family from the Dell Rapids community as well as so many other family and friends. Karla, along with her husband – Louis, and her four sons – Trevor, Mason, Riley, and Levi – are Dell Rapids community members.
More information about Pray for Gray can be found by clicking here.