When 17-year-old Hailey Lucas started getting sick in class she thought she had the flu.
“My stomach would always hurt, and I would feel like I was going to throw up and get really bad headaches,” she said.
But it turned out to be much more.
“We weren’t thinking that our otherwise healthy 17-year-old would end up resulting in having stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Hailey’s mom Wendy Brown said.
Now medicines, tubes, and doctors are a regular part of Hailey’s life. Wendy is doing what she can to help her daughter.
“Sometimes when I cry at night because I’m in pain, she comes and lays with me. And, when I had hair, she would play with my hair, and she gets me food and medicine when I need it,” Hailey explained.
But Hailey’s family wanted to do for her what even her new pink wig couldn’t. That’s why her aunt started #HaileyStrong – a social media movement to bring Hailey photos from around the world.
“Being 17 years old and getting a diagnosis of cancer and then it being stage four really shook us, and we didn’t want that to be who Hailey was at that point,” Brown said.
With photos from all 50 states as well as Antarctica, Europe, Africa, and – Hailey’s favorite – Bora Bora, Hailey and her mom feel they can capture the strength to keep going.
“Society itself was a big part of helping Hailey get through this, people reaching out to her and letting Hailey know that they care and that this isn’t going to take over her life,” her mom explained.
With treatments going well and an 80 percent cure rate for her condition, Hailey is now looking forward to prom and making plans past senior year.
“Hoping to get better and then look at colleges and stuff like that,” she said.
If you want to continue the love, just make a #HaileyStrong sign showing where you are in the world, snap a quick photo, and post to social media with #HaileyStrong.
Hailey’s friends and family will host a 5K and benefit in Sheridan to raise money for medical expenses on March 18. The event is called Shakin’ Our Shamrocks for Hailey. You can find out more on eventbrite.com.
Naperville News 17’s Beth Bria reports.
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