Bashing Cancer: Haley Gloria, 14 (Medulloblastoma)
When doctors first discovered it in 2012, Haley Gloria’s brain tumor was the size of a tennis ball. Just two days after the diagnosis, she spent 16 hours in surgery where doctors were able to reduce the tumor to the size of a pea; that tiny portion of the tumor was too close to her brain stem to remove.
She recovered from surgery in the hospital and then went through six weeks of radiation therapy, which completely destroyed what was left of the tumor. Eight cycles of relapse chemotherapy later, doctors declared that she was officially clear. The entire process took around a year and a half and Haley has been cancer free ever since, but does deal with some side effects now including hearing loss.
What’s a happy memory you have from your time in the hospital?
Every time I would stay (in the hospital) for a few days I would decorate it and make it less plain … Each inpatient stay had a theme. I think my favorite theme was sock monkeys. My class at school bought a sock monkey making kit and everyone in my class made me a tiny sock monkey.
What's the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
I think the hardest thing I ever did was probably getting my feeding tube when I was in treatment. It wasn’t fun and it was uncomfortable. I had that for several months.
Is there anything about having cancer that you wish other kids understood?
I think a lot of kids don’t understand that it’s a lot more than not having hair. That’s what a lot of kids turn to, they don’t understand why the hair isn’t there. I did lose my hair but I learned that you don’t need hair to be pretty.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve done?
My Make-a-Wish trip! After my treatment we went to Disney World. I really loved it all.
Why should people attend the Superhero Dash-N-Bash?
It’s really cool. They have food and snacks and fun and they play games and some characters show up … People cut their hair to show support and it’s a tiny way to put yourself in other kids’ shoes.
A Parent’s Perspective
“We thank God for where we are, but we’re really not finished. We’re probably going to always be at risk for one thing or another for the rest of Haley’s life. We’re always getting checked. We go every six months to get an MRI and in between there are other little checkups and visits and things that healthy children don’t have to do.”
- Haley’s dad, Jason Gloria