My Story: An Honored Hero Takes Steps

Hayden was your typical healthy, active 4 year-old-boy - he loved sports, playing with friends, and riding his scooter.   In the summer of 2008, Hayden started having frequent bowel movements and loose stool.  After a few weeks and multiple negative parasite tests, he could not make it more than 20 minutes without having to use the bathroom.  We tried to go to the beach one Saturday afternoon and could not make it out of the neighborhood.  That afternoon Hayden was admitted to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).  A few days later, after many IVs, endoscopies and colonoscopies, Hayden was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.  Our world was changed forever.

We started with typical treatments but unlike a sinus infection and other illnesses we had encountered, nothing seemed to work.  The despair as a parent of a sick child and not being able to cure it is indescribable.  You feel your sole purpose in life is to protect your child, yet you are not able to.

We finally hit rock bottom over the holiday season of 2011 when his diagnosis was changed to Crohn’s disease. Hayden was having a flare up and nothing was working. He was admitted to the hospital again over the holiday break.  There is nothing more depressing than being hospitalized for Christmas.  The emotional toll of watching your son wither away in front of you, fearing it was the last time you would hug him was almost too much.

However Hayden is strong, possibly stronger than both of us. He continued to fight and he never lost his will.  He pulled through and has been responding better to the recent combination of medicines. Still weighing in the 20th percentile and measuring in the 15th percentile in his age group, this hero continues to play lacrosse and basketball, in between trying daring skateboard maneuvers. He wakes up every day with a smile, eager to see what life brings.

(As told by his mother Heather)

Last year, Heather and her family's Take Steps team, dubbed team Haydee Hoo, placed second, raising more than $10,000 in just their first of participation. This is the family’s second year participating in the Mercer County Take Steps Walk for Philadelphia/Delaware Valley Chapter. 

You can help children like Hayden overcome IBD when you join us at one of our many Take Steps Walks this season here.