When Hadley started getting sick a lot, her parents chalked it up to having started daycare. Then, her doctor did some bloodwork, and within fifteen minutes they were told they were going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Hadley had acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer.
“As a 2 year old, your child should have problems that you can still fix," said her mom, Brittany. "You should be putting Band-Aids on scraped knees and kissing boo-boos and wiping tears over silly things, not cancer.”
Hadley with her mom, Brittany
Although it was terrifying, St. Jude was a nearly immediate comfort to the family.
These halls are filled with more hope than I could ever describe.
“You kind of start feeling at home right off the bat because everybody’s so friendly,” said her dad, Darrin. “You’d think it would be a bunch of sad people and just a terrible place to be, but that’s not what it’s like here. Everybody’s upbeat, positive, smiling.”
St. Jude has helped push the childhood cancer survival rate from 20% when we opened in 1962 to more than 80% today. We won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
Hadley was placed on chemotherapy, and turned 3 years old during treatment. She’s a chatty tot and “a little firecracker,” according to her dad.
Her mom said, “I can't tell you how many times she’s caught me crying and told me, ‘Mom, don’t worry, it's going to be okay.’ She has zero fear, and part of that is her age, but part of that’s just Hadley. She’s fearless, she’s happy all the time, she thrives on making people laugh, she loves music and animals, and colors, and singing and dancing, and she's just a really fun kid.”