Ten-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Holds Blood Drive at School

February 8, 2024 at 2:19 pm

By Julie Peachey, Public Relations Officer

We first introduced you to young Hadley in January 2021 when she was just six years old and a year into her treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Hadley had started kindergarten in the fall of 2019 when she began experiencing pain in her legs, causing her to limp and avoid the playground at school. After a few long months of tests and uncertainty, Hadley and her mothers, Katy and Pam, were stunned when they received the diagnosis. They were suddenly forced to come to terms with an entirely new reality involving a treatment plan that wouldn’t end until the summer of 2022.

It’s difficult to imagine what those seemingly insurmountable years were like for Hadley and her family. The treatment began at the end of 2019, just as the world was heading into the COVID-19 pandemic. But they did what any family would do and marched forward. With little time to process all that was happening, the new regimen began. Hadley was taking chemo pills each night and visiting the hospital for weekly infusions. She endured numerous lumbar puncture procedures under general anesthesia, four bone marrow aspirations, and 13 blood transfusions.

This past December, at a year and a half post-treatment, ten-year-old Hadley held a blood drive at her school as a way to support those who continue to need life-saving blood. Inspired also by her sister, Makena, who was the same age Hadley is now at the time treatment began, held a blood drive at her school. Katy remembers, “It was in early 2020 and we were able to host a drive just before the shutdown happened.”

At Hadley’s blood drive, she was thrilled to greet each donor and take pictures with them. Clayton Toller, Stanford Blood Center’s coordinator for the drive said, “Hadley was so excited to take home the foam board poster we had made up for the drive and said she would be hanging it in her room.”

After the blood drive, I was able to catch up with Katy to learn how Hadley is doing. “She is so great and we finally feel comfortable saying that. For the first year after treatment, it was always, ‘she’s ok, but…’. It is so awesome to be on the other side now.” Being on this side has also been a period of adjustment, though, as Katy jokes, “She’s had to accept that there will be fewer balloons and less pizza now.”

Of the forty-five people who came to the drive, nearly half had never donated blood before. Katy says, “I am always spreading awareness about donating blood and encouraging friends to sign up. It’s free to do and such an important cause for us.” No doubt these new and returning donors will continue to give blood in honor of one brave young girl, while also saving countless lives.