On a Tuesday night, while the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer was bustling full of children playing and running around, one child named Enrique stood out amongst the chaos. Fourteen-year-old Enrique was playing with his cousin Ayla and sister Alieta, who also come to the Foundation after school multiple times a week. His aunt English brings them to Austin Hatcher Foundation every week.
Although Enrique is all smiles today, English remembers a time when things weren’t filled with fun. When Enrique was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), it affected their entire family. “We were all full of fear and anxiety, and it was so difficult because we didn’t even know what questions to ask or who to go to for help,” she says. “We didn’t have a support system for Enrique’s needs in the beginning, and we thought we had to go out and find it on our own. It was amazing that the foundation could be there for us.”
One of Enrique’s biggest struggles after treatment was returnin...
On the first day of fourth grade, Will came home screaming in pain due to a headache. His mother immediately took him to T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with strep. When the antibiotics were not effective in treating the symptoms, the doctors thought it might be connected to the medicines Will was taking for his Asperger Syndrome, an earlier diagnosis. His pediatrician then recommended they get a CT Scan and EEG which was followed up by an MRI and the doctors then confirmed there was a tumor on his pituitary gland.
Will began going regularly to the cancer clinic at T.C. Thompson and around that same time Danielle Hooper, Will’s mother, attended an event at Coolidge Park where Hatch’s House of Hope had a booth set up. Danielle grabbed one of the cards and contacted Hatch’s to see what services they had for her son.
At the time, Danielle worked for the Chattanooga Area Brain Injury Association, a nonprofit organization. She said coming to Hatch’s gave her a place t...
Enthusiasm and optimism abound in the Duncan household, with 2017 as bright as 2016 seemed, at times, dark. Thirteen-year-old Dylan Duncan is living life as a kid his age should, attending seventh-grade classes, excited about sports, making his parents, Vernon and Rebecca, more proud with each day.
Dylan is in remission now, the osteosarcoma diagnosis from last year now in the rear-view mirror after six rounds of chemotherapy that ended on Jan. 5. The diagnosis had come on Mother’s Day 2016 – yes, Mother’s Day – and of course shook his Cleveland, Tennessee family to its core.
Dylan’s mother Rebecca, having now officially made the trip to hell and back, is grateful that the Austin Hatcher Foundation has been along for the ride.
“Many, many times they have helped us keep our sanity,” Rebecca says. She is especially indebted – on a personal level, as all foundation services are provided at no charge – to Bryan Humphreys, the foundation’s clinical social worker and Dr. April Nesin,...