Hayley was diagnosed at age 1 1/2 during an MRI to rule out certain developmental disabilities. She was not sitting upright unassisted, nor walking (as well as other delays) which indicated that something was not right. A tumor was found in her brain. It was found in the Cerebellum which is a source for many routine daily functions. The location of her tumor affected many aspects of her life including speech, motor functioning and planning, and balance. She was undergoing routine sedated MRIs every 6 months to watch for any growth of the tumor. She also has continued speech, occupational, and physical therapies as well as routine Botox injections into her legs to help with her balance and coordination. Her tumor was consistantly stable for 2 years and then showed signs of "fading" (they use color contrast injections to show the tumor) which is very positive and was moved to yearly MRI's. This past April (2009) we received the best news! Her tumor was gone! After struggling for 5 long years, she was no longer a child with cancer she became a survivor of cancer! While she will continue yearly MRI's throughout her life and continue her therapies, there are so many reasons to be thankful! She will continue to be treated by the excellent doctors at Gillette Childrens Hospital of St. Paul, and Fairview Medical Center and University of Minnesota, both in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Hayley is a very happy and sweet 7 year old. She enjoys her books immensely. Her speech has come along well and she is starting to read books herself. She loves to play outdoors and is very observant of everything happening around her. All she has ever known is doctors and clinics. Yet she doesnt complain. Each and every child encountered on a visit isnt any different than anybody else to her and she makes friends regardless of her disabilities!
I have been organizing events in the Eau Claire area for the past 4 years (this will be my 5th) and Hayley looks forward to them each year! (Or as she calls it "the big party".) She enjoys rubbing all the bald heads! I've never seen a child so excited to see a baldy! As you can see from her photo, she may not fully understand that the money raised will help others like her and her friends who are sick, but she wears her t-shirt loud and proud...and with attitude! We hope you will too!
After meeting any child with cancer or special needs, you will find that you see a light that shines brighter in the crowd. They are fighters to the core and dont understand the word quit! Once any of these children touch your life, you never want to quit fighting either! So SHAVE ON!