“Sunday, April 21st, 2013. This is a day I will never forget. It is the day the word ‘cancer’ entered my vocabulary and reached inside the life of my 2-year-old daughter Hazel changing it forever and invading the lives of my entire family, extended family and friends. This is the day my daughter Hazel (or Hazelnut, as we all like to call her) was diagnosed with a Stage 3 neuroblastoma tumor in her abdomen.” shares Lauren Hammersley “As I sit here broken, I think of all of you who are just as scared and confused as I am. So I want to be able to provide answers to you as quickly as I can so we can all continue to hope and pray for our darling little girl.
“This all started Wednesday, April 17, 2013 in the morning when Hazel was playing with me and her sister in the living room. Out of the blue, she began crying in pain, telling me that she had “Owies”. When I would ask her to show me where it hurt, she could not really describe it. One moment she would say her belly, then her diaper, then her back. Many times she would just say, ‘I don’t know’. This lasted throughout most of the afternoon, with breaks of normalcy between cries. I thought maybe she had trapped gas, or was getting that nasty stomach flu that was going around. She had no other symptoms, so I decided to just keep a watchful eye, and see if there were any changes. That evening, it seemed to go away. She cried a few times in the middle of the night, but that is not so unusual for a 2-year-old.
“The next day, Thursday, April 18th, she continued to complain of ‘Owies’, but did not seem to cry as much. She also appeared a little more tired and lethargic, but I assumed it was because she did not sleep well the night before. I did notice a change, however, in her eating behavior. She is normally quite a ravenous child, and she only finished half of her breakfast, barely touched her lunch, and flat out refused her dinner. She would not even accept treats, except for two little M&M’s. After dinner, she fell asleep on the couch and spiked a fever. That’s when I knew something was wrong. I even remember saying to Aaron, ‘My Mommy instincts are going crazy…’ Looking back, I truly believe God was moving within me, to get us to where we needed to go.” Lauren and Aaron’s story with Hazel continues but this is where Here to Serve stepped in to help and provide love and support during their entire 5 -year journey.
Hazel and her family fought the cancer “beast” since Hazel was 2 years old. After chemo, radiation, transplant, immunotherapy, surgery, clinical trials and multiple periods of remission, Hazel relapsed again in October of 2017. This relapse would be her last. Close to five years from the date of her diagnosis, Hazel lost her battle with neuroblastoma on March 30, 2018. But not before she gave us all more love, joy and vitality in 7 years than most provide in a lifetime.
“Here to Serve came alongside our family in it’s darkest times and helped us keep our heads above water. This organization became so invaluable to us by coordinating all the support we needed throughout our daughter’s treatment, being a sounding board for any and all concerns and even for emotional support. On top of helping provide for our family’s basic needs such a laundry, meals and even scooping dog poop (!), Here to Serve went above and beyond to take care of us in ways we never expected.”
– Lauren, Hazel’s mom
Hazel Hammersley, 2-Year-Old Cancer Patient, Gets The Sweetest Pizza Party Of All Time – Huffington Post
Services Provided by Here to Serve:
- Home Needs Coordination
- Fundraising Assistance
- Resource Referrals
- Family Updates
- Holiday Adopt-a-Family
- Holiday Home Decorating
- Home Repairs Coordination
- Respite trips for the family
Learn more about our Our Services.