As the sisters got together and brainstormed what we could do this holiday season, we threw around a lot of ideas – 12 days of fudge recipe, our favorite Christmas cookies, even 12 days of giveaways . . . but nothing felt right. Then we had a new idea- what if we found 12 families who could use a little bit of extra help and love this holiday season?
Last year we were blown away by the thoughtfulness of our readers as we helped one family who was going through a hard time, so this year we decided that we would go a little further and help 12 families! To us, we feel the most joy when we focus on what the holidays are really all about and we believe that the true meaning of Christmas is to love and serve others. With that being said, we are so excited to bring to you our 12 Days of Giving Back!For the next 12 days, we will be introducing you to 12 different families who were nominated by our readers as people who could use a little extra help this during this time. We received HUNDREDS of nominations and each story touched our hearts. The 12 that we chose really had an impact on us and we knew that we needed to help them.
With each post, we will tell one family’s story and share ways that you can help this family in need. Even if you don’t have money to donate but would still like to help, we will be donating $1 for every recipe that is uploaded to our new recipe sharing site, My Recipe Magic (up to $100 per day). If you would like to share your recipes and help donate to the family, CLICK HERE for the instructions to get you started (it’s easy!).
Day 5: Hailey Aiono
Although we have never met, this girl holds a special place in my heart. she is the same age as me, 19, and was experiencing the same things I was just one year ago. However, her life has taken a path that I cannot even begin to imagine.
In 2012, Hailey was just your regular 19 year old girl. She had just graduated high school and was enjoying her first semester at Chandler Gilbert Community College where she had received a volleyball scholarship. She was having a great semester and doing well in both school and volleyball. Hailey has always been a fun, loving, and outgoing person so when she started to feel sick starting in July everyone could tell something was definitely wrong because she was not herself. She went to the doctor and to the emergency room several times and no one seemed to know what was wrong with her but still her body and head hurt tremendously. It was the Friday night after Thanksgiving that our family went to the hospital because her symptoms were getting worse, the doctor ran some tests and a few hours later we discovered what seemed to be the unthinkable. The doctor came into Hailey’s room at around three in the morning and all of us were sitting in there laughing and reflecting on past memories. When he entered we could tell something was wrong, and our fears were confirmed as the doctor stated that they found a mass in her brain. The room fell silent and tears streamed down everyone’s faces. Within the hour Hailey was transported to the Barrows Neuro Unit of St. Joseph’s Hospital. It was there that she stayed for the next month and had six procedures performed and the doctors were able to find out that she had a benign but slow growing tumor called Ganglioglioma.
Throughout the time Hailey was at the hospital she naturally had good and bad days, but no matter what she always stayed strong and overcame every trial that was thrown her way. As my family went through this tragic time we all came together and relied on each other for support and comfort. Hailey returned home and began the long road to recovery. She suffered many things during this time including short memory loss causing her to forget her whole senior year of high school and her first semester of college. She was also unable to form any type of appetite.
Unfortunately in September of this year, the doctors discovered that the tumor had grown back, this time, at a rapid rate. Hailey underwent another surgery this September but the doctors were only able to remove 60 to 70 percent of the tumor without causing harm to her. The remaining tumor was growing into the brain which makes removal difficult without harm. Radiation treatment was needed to take care of the rest of the tumor, and eventually chemotherapy.
Hailey has continued to be in and out of the hospital with radiation, chemotherapy, and seizures. She has a long road of recovery ahead, but knows that with the support of her family, friends, and her faith, she can endure anything.
As you can imagine, the costs of chemotherapy, surgeries, and hospital stays has resulted in very large amounts of medical expenses. We would love to help out Hailey and the Aiono family as much as we possibly could this season. If you would like to help out too, you can donate here:
If you would like to read more about Hailey and her journey, you can here: Hailey’s Journey
Thank you for your love and support towards Hailey and Aiono family!
All money donated during the 12 Days of Giving Back will go directly to the families and the specific bank accounts that they have set up through PayPal. All families chosen for this have been thoroughly screened and we feel you can donate confidently, knowing that your donation is going to a most-deserving family.