#AlpacaTheHope: Wellstone Employee Pays it Forward to Families Battling Childhood Cancer
What is your purpose?
For Kati Davenport, APRN, it is her commitment to supporting children and families across the nation who have been affected by pediatric cancer.
Davenport’s son, Declan, was 13 years old when he was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer.
Declan received 17 rounds of high dose chemotherapy and 41 rounds of radiation to his left pelvis at MD Anderson in Houston. Declan finished his cancer treatments in 2018 and the soon-to-be sophomore high school student is enjoying school, working and playing golf.
“He beat all the odds and still does every day,” Davenport shared. “He is a walking miracle and we are very blessed.”
The Davenport family is now dedicated to helping other families battling childhood cancer with the help of some furry friends- alpacas to be exact.
Kati and her family own a 29 acre alpaca farm located behind their home in Kempner, Texas. The property is home to alpacas, sheep, goats and chickens.
“It’s something we looked into prior to Declan’s diagnosis,” Davenport said. “It is very strange because three years ago we were just trying to survive. Here we are three years later, and we have a thriving alpaca farm and are paying it forward to so many people. It’s a blessing.”
Through their alpaca farm, the family is able to sell various items such as alpaca dryer balls, socks, scarves and other products. The farm also has a studio barn, which is listed on Airbnb.
“Low and behold, people want to stay in the alpaca barn all the time,” Davenport laughed.
Kati and her family invite families with sick children to stay on the property with open arms.
“We have kids come out, survivors or in treatment, and let them stay with us and walk alpacas. We try to provide these families with a place to relax,” Davenport shared.
Davenport will even bring guests to her parents’ house down the road for a home cooked meal.
“Everybody got pulled into this greater mission that I think we were all destined for,” Davenport explained.
All of the proceeds from Artillery Creek Alpacas and Farm are donated to the Ronald McDonald House. Funds are also used to send alpaca related gifts to kids all over the country, or to provide meals to the pediatric floor at MD Anderson.
“We will bring wagons of food to the entire ninth floor every time we go to Houston,” Davenport said. “We will cater a meal to the pediatric patients, their families and staff.”
Kati and her family also deliver food to patients and their families who are staying in the hospital for extended periods.
“My husband and I talk to a lot of parents and try to share hope that there will be an end to this. We try to provide these other families battling cancer with a little extra inspiration and hope. It seems like you’re in it forever, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
The Davenports are helping other families battling cancer not just in Texas, but all over the country.
Recently, Kati went above and beyond for an eleven-year-old cancer patient in Pennsylvania.
“There is a little girl battling cancer who I learned is a llama and alpaca fanatic,” Davenport explained. “I sent her alpaca gifts and I really wanted to fly her and her family down at the end of the summer, but she relapsed after 6 weeks of treatment.”
Kati called alpaca owners in Pennsylvania and was able to connect the family with alpaca farms close to their home.
“I am thrilled, but I wish I could be there. I really wanted to fly them in and have the family spend a long weekend with us at the farm, to give her a real alpaca farm experience.”
The Davenport family continues to travel to Houston every 90 days for routine scans.
“Every day is a blessing. God gives us another chance every 90 days. Our outlook on life is now very different and it always will be,” Davenport shared. “This little alpaca farm turned into such a blessing and we will continue to bless other people.”
When it comes to her purpose, Kati is certain this is what she is meant to do. “This is without a doubt my passion and main life purpose,” Davenport explained. “Supporting other families and providing hope is my passion.”
Davenport recently celebrated five years of service with Wellstone Health Partners and Seton Medical Center Harker Heights. Congratulations, Kati, and thank you for your compassion and service to not only our patients, but to children and families across the nation who are fighting pediatric cancer.
Follow Kati, her family and their furry friends on Instagram @artillerycreekalpacas. To learn more about Artillery Creek Alpacas and Farm, click here.