Meet Haley Gloria

Haley Gloria thinks she might like to be an oncologist someday. At 13, she has a good head start. Her mom, Lisa, laughs as she remembers Haley “putting interns to shame” with questions to her own doctor that most people would be surprised to hear coming from an eight-year-old. “Haley’s always been an old soul,” Lisa says. “She knew exactly what her medicine was called, what the dose was, and what it was for. “ The team at Arkansas Children’s was delighted to accommodate Haley’s avid curiosity, she recalls. And Lisa was grateful for the way they responded to her own anxious questions.

“I was quite confused at first. Everyone I posed questions to was there to help and guide me. It was abundantly clear that we were where we needed to be.”

Haley had been experiencing mysterious symptoms for a year when a trip to Arkansas Children’s emergency room resulted in a diagnosis of medulloblastoma. There was a tennis ball sized tumor on her brain, and it was malignant. Within 48 hours, the tumor was surgically removed, and from there, started her journey of recovery.

“That’s where we first met our oncologist, physical therapists, speech therapists, and all the friends we still hold dear today,” says Lisa. After surgery, Haley had to relearn basic skills like walking, tying shoes, and brushing teeth. Then it was time for radiation, followed by chemotherapy, and more rehab.

“She has done a great job of bouncing back,” reports Lisa. “She has overcome every single hurdle put in front of her. It’s strengthened our family and our faith.”

Haley, her parents Lisa and Jason, and her older sister would come to view ACH as a second home. Lisa credits the hospital with creating an environment that fosters the family atmosphere and interaction that became a huge source of support. “There is a tremendous sense of family there. It didn’t become a place of dread. It was a place of hope. “

The Glorias were one of the first families to stay in the south wing, and Lisa says it was a major factor in helping them form supportive bonds with other patients and their families.

That summer, Team U.S.A was winning gold at the Olympics. Lisa recalls how the kids and their families gathered in the family room to watch the games on TV, and her thoughts as the children jumped and cheered. “I remember thinking what personal victories are unfolding before our eyes, right here in this space.”

Haley still travels to Children’s from her home in Hot Springs for monitoring and follow up. “Because of the long-term nature of some of her treatments side effects, we’re going to be blessed to have these friendships for the rest of her life,” says Lisa.
“Whenever we go in we know we’ll see a bunch of friends along the way. “

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