Haley spreads courage with “The Worlds of Blu”
Haley Branton found courage in many places during her battle with leukemia:
The friends she made, including Hanna Safley, once a leukemia patient at Mary Bridge herself. “Hanna helped me a lot when I was scared,” says Haley, 9.
Mary Bridge Child Life Specialists, specifically Kristen Bishop, who made procedures and hospital visits less scary.
Her mother, Christy, who shaved her hair off in solidarity when it was time to shave Haley’s.
And her father, Anthony, who helped Haley write and illustrate the children’s book she’s selling to raise money for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.
Haley was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in Nov. 2014. It was a rough experience for her and her family.
“It was hard living in the hospital,” Anthony recalls.
The family estimates they spent a total of 100 days at Mary Bridge during the course of Haley’s diagnosis and treatment.
Once Haley finished treatment in March 2016 and her cancer was in remission, she wanted to give other children facing cancer the courage to get through the many hospital visits, needle pokes and procedures that she experienced.
Her book, “The World of Blu,” is about an alien who struggles because he looks different from the other aliens on his planet.
“He was scared because people laughed at him,” Haley explains.
But Blu travels to Earth and meets a girl in a hospital — Haley — who inspires him:
Blu talked about how it’s so hard to make friends and how he so desperately needed courage to try new things.
Haley looked at Blu and said, “You are Courage. You traveled through space to meet someone you never met before, and if that’s not courage I don’t know what is. … when I unlocked my courage, cancer never had a fighting chance.”
Haley also told Blu about how excited she was to go back to school and see her friends. Blu said, “But you look different. Now the other kids will laugh at you like they do to me. What will you do?”
Haley replied, “I will just tell them this is what you look like after defeating a notorious killer called Cancer. When they hear that, they will beg me to protect them.”
So far, the family has donated more than $1,000 to Mary Bridge from book sales since January. They sold about $700 worth of books at the kickoff event for Mary Bridge Children’s Courage last month.
Haley and her father are planning a second book together now, this time about Blu’s father and his own quest for courage.
About The Author
Roxanne Cooke is our senior content editor and manages Vitals, Kite Strings and Bring Happy Back, plus special projects such as 24 Hours at Tacoma General Hospital and The Healthy Futures Project. She tells stories in words, photos and video. You can reach her at [email protected]More stories by this author