This is Haley's 9th year doing the Relay For Life. For us, it is a celebration of her survival. She was diagnosed with Leukemia April 3, 2002. She was a very, very sick 3 year old little girl that first grueling month of chemotherapy. There were times I honestly wasn't sure she would make it. We spent a lot of that time in the PICU and I will never forget the image of her swollen little face and bald head with that blank, lifeless look in her eyes when she was so sick. But, she has always been a fighter, my Haley Bug. She made it through that first month, and even though she had to learn to walk again from being in bed for so long, she did it! She endured the rest of her 2 1/2 years of chemo with many more ups and downs, but the end result is, she is a SURVIVOR!
Every year she walks the survivor lap with a huge smile on her face, waving to all the people standing there to clap for her and all the other survivors walking. Every other year, we have walked with her. This year, she was asked to walk behind the survivor banner, and being that she is 12 years old now, I asked her if she wanted to walk on her own this year. She said yes, even if she was a little reticent about it. Her cousin, Taylor, who is 13, ended up walking with her. It was hard for me to let go and let her walk on her own, but my heart swelled with pride and just complete and utter thankfulness to God for choosing me to mother this special, special young lady and, of course, for her survival. We walked the caregiver lap with her, Haley by my side, our arms around each other as I held her hand and I fought back the tears. It is simply amazing how far we have come. I am so thankful to have such a special event that we can truly reflect on that and be thankful. Here are our pictures from the night!
|Signing the 2011 survivor banner|
|Haley's signature ♥|
|Grubbin' at the survivor reception!|
|Mickey, Taylor and Haley in the big, pink give hope chair!|
|My beautiful Haley Bug|
|Haley doing the cupid shuffle|
|Haley and Aunt Tiffany|
|Me and my Haley Bug, my HERO!|
|Mike and I and our first baby!|
|Mickey and Haley ♥|
|Haley getting ready to walk the survivor lap|
|Walking the survivor lap - SO PROUD OF HER!|
|Haley and her Daddy|
|All the fun things about Relay For Life - so cute!|
Another important aspect of the Relay For Life is the money it raises for the American Cancer Society. The kind of cancer that Haley had would have been fatal 20 years ago. Thanks to research into different types of treatment, when she was diagnosed, she had a 90% chance at being cured, which is now considered cured! Without money to fund research to find treatments, no cancer would be cured. There are still far too many people dying from cancer because we still need better treatments. The money made at this event will help fund that fight, the fight against cancer!