A New Best Friend: Hadley’s Story

It started with knee pain: Eight-year-old Hadley complained about her knee hurting and her mom, Launa, took her to the pediatrician. At first, it seemed it was only a possible injury from PE or recess.

But Launa could never have guessed the real reason behind her daughter’s pain. When doctors discovered a tumor, Launa was left with a flurry of questions and fears.

“I fell to my knees,” she said. “Not my little girl… she was just playing outside and laughing. Not my family. This can’t be happening. This can’t be real. How? How did I not see this?”

Hadley was diagnosed with bone cancer and immediately started chemotherapy in the spring of 2023. It devastated everyone in the family — her parents, her two brothers, and especially Hadley.

The hardest part for Hadley was the amputation of her leg for a prosthesis, she told KATU News as part of their Stories of Joy series.

Through all these hardships, though, her family celebrates Hadley’s strength. “She is brave, strong, courageous,” said Tim, Hadley’s dad. “She’s inspiring.”

So, when JoyRx Mentorship introduced Sophia to Hadley, it was a welcome distraction and a breath of fresh air for their daughter.

“She was so excited to be Hadley’s new best friend!” said Launa, recalling their first meeting.

As Miss Oregon 2022, Sophia was everything Hadley could want in a best friend and older sister. Here was a mentor to talk with, connect with, do makeup with, paint nails with, and watch Harry Potter  with. Soon, the two were inseparable.

“She was someone who could make Hadley smile,” Launa said. “She goes to the movies with us, the county fair, trick or treating, play dates, and more.”

The new friendship was just as rewarding for Sophia, too.

“You don’t realize how much you’re going to get out of it as a Mentor,” she said. “I tell everybody that I get, in my opinion, so much more joy and camaraderie out of spending time with Hadley than I could ever imagine her getting from me. It just feels like the greatest gift to spend time with her.”

Sophia quickly became a part of Hadley’s family — getting along well with her brothers and parents. Soon, Hadley’s family considered her just another part of the family.

“I absolutely know Sophia will be a part of our family forever,” Launa shared. “JoyRx Mentorship is the best program ever.”

Check out more on social:

Become a Mentor

Explore topics in this post