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Casey Hunter's Story > Storyteller Feature

Featuring: Casey Hunter
Written by: Julianne Barclay

"Just When They Thought They Had Lost It All" 

Comments: 5 Published on: Sep 10, 2009 Views: 29,455

Category: Loss


On this eve of a retrospective anniversary when the world as most of us knew suddenly flew apart - a day of looking backwards and remembering - take a moment. Think about the past several months and how the economic downturn has changed your life. What have you had to give up? What have you had to say good-bye to?


A year ago Holly and Craig Hunter were loving life. They both had steady jobs, were able to rent a house for their two beautiful daughters, Casey (2 years) and Rowan (4 years). Life was good. When the economy started to go sour in the fall, Craig lost his job at Jiffy Lube. As with thousands of others in his same situation, finding employment elsewhere became difficult. Holly was able to keep the family above water as she had been employed with Washington Mutual for 4 years.  Although the banking system was shaky, she still had income. When Washington Mutual was taken over by Chase, however, financially things began to slide further for Holly and Craig. More hours worked…less income. It took a toll both emotionally and financially on the family. Holly knew a change needed to happen. With the limited time and finances they made a decision: Holly would go back to school and begin the training to become and Emergency Medical Technician.


Holly and Craig had a plan, and although monetarily strapped and things would be tight, they were beginning to move forward and dust themselves off from the crumble of the economy months before. It would take months, maybe even years to build up their nest egg, but they were on the right track.


Then the bottom of their world really fell out.


Their youngest daughter, Casey, was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome in June. Nephrotic Syndrome is a condition that effects kidney function. They spent many hours that winter and spring going in and out of doctors’ offices. Toward the end of July, Casey was admitted to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital with a kidney infection. Under special medical care and observation, Casey fought the infection and was cleared to go home. While getting Casey bathed and dressed to go home, the real nightmare began. Casey ‘coded’…her body went limp. A team of doctors and nurses descended on two year old Casey, but it was too late. Casey died. Cured of her kidney infection…excited to go home to play with her big sister Rowan….ready to enjoy the rest of her summer…Casey was dead.  A pulmonary embolism….a condition not even related to Nephrotic Syndrome had killed her.


Holly and Craig have had to make some hard choices this past week. Never could Holly and Craig imagine that with this economy and their lack of funds they would have to ‘bargain’ shop for a cemetery plot for their precious two year old angel. Never could Holly and Craig have imagined they would have to make a ‘financially responsible’ option between the cheaper cremation over a traditional burial with casket, although Holly’s heart has chosen the option for her. Holly could not choose cremation…she could not fathom that for her baby girl. Never could Holly and Craig imagine they would have to ask the question, “What can we afford?” when it came to the funeral plans of their youngest child. To make matters worse, when Chase Bank was approached to set up a special account for Casey’s family to offset the cost of funeral expenses, the family was denied on grounds of a “conflict of interest”.


A year ago Holly and Craig would never have imagined the nightmare they are facing today. The loss of an income or the downsizing of a position seems small in comparison to the nightmare of how to afford a proper good-bye for their sweet happy little girl.


8/24/2006 ~ 7/30/2009


Casey Christeen Hunter passed away Thursday, July 30, 2009 at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, OR. She was born on August 24, 2006 in Vancouver, WA.


Even though she was only on this earth for a short time, she touched many people. She had a special way about her that made people smile. Casey enjoyed spending time with her family and friends, and trying to keep up with her big sister, Rowan. Casey was always such a happy little girl. She enjoyed being outdoors, and also really loved dogs especially her stuffed dog "Pepper." Everyone who knew her appreciated how she was so "Casey." She was very polite and continued to be her adorable, loving self, even during her recent hospital visits. Although diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome in June, Casey's death was sudden and unexpected. She will be missed forever by all who knew and loved her.


She is survived at home by her parents, Holly (Gillespie) Hunter and Craig Hunter II; and her older sister, Rowan Hunter. Casey is also survived by her grandparents, Joy and Vern Earhart; grandfather, Craig Hunter; aunt, Kendall Freeman; aunt, Cristi (Rick) Dahlstrom; and cousins, Jordan, Jocelyn, Austin, Zach, and Brandon. She is also survived by her Papa and Nana, Al and Sundii Gillespie; uncle, Geoff Gillespie; uncle, Ryan J. Gillespie; as well as cousins, Elliott, Celia, Samantha, and Allie. Casey also is survived by her great-grandmother, Wilma Gillespie; as well as numerous other well loved family members and friends.


If you would like to provide additional support to the Hunter Family in their time of need, Casey's parents have established an educational needs account for Casey's sister, Rowan, at


For those of you wishing to further celebrate Casey's life, memorial services will be held at Evergreen Memorial Gardens (1101 NE 112th Ave., in Vancouver) on Wed. August 5, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.



So, take a moment. Think about the past several months and how the economic downturn has changed your life. What have you had to give up? What have you had to say good-bye to?  


Thank you Holly & Craig, for sharing Casey's Story with us.


Our Stories and pictures are the sole copyright of their Authors and may not be reprinted or used without their permission.

 © 2009 by Julianne Barclay and Story of My Life

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Member Since
Aug 2007
Olga Pinashova said:
posted on Sep 11, 2009
Chase Bank #Fail indeed!!!

Chase should be ashamed of this. I know that it was probably just a low level manager who made the decision, and there may have been a policy conflict, but seriously people? I mean, seriously? Just set her up an account already... that's sad, and hurtful to the family.

Poor Casey. I'm sorry that you all have to go through this Holly & Craig!

Member Since
Aug 2007
Antje Wilsch said:
posted on Sep 14, 2009

What an awful, horrible tragedy. I look at her picture and she deserves to be dancing in the sunlight. I'm so sorry that this all happened to your family. It's awful that we have to go through these things and be forced into horrible decisions. I too hope the bank is shamed.

Member Since
Aug 2007
Rodolpho Perez said:
posted on Sep 15, 2009
I agree

This should never, ever have happened. Ever.

i am very sorry for your loss.

Member Since
Aug 2007
Kristen Kuhns said:
posted on Sep 28, 2009

Please keep us updated on this....

Member Since
Mar 2009
posted on Jan 24, 2011
my condolences

I know your pain.  I lost my son 1 year and 1/2 ago.  He was born with persistent pulmonary hypertension of a newborn.  They put him on a high tech machine called the echmo machine.  Caused alot of complications.  His name was Julian.  He died the day before his 1st birthday.  Casey and Julian are angels in heaven.  They are happy and healthy and peaceful.. Prayers to you and your family.  When I am ready I will share that chapter of my life.  May God be with you all.