Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Union County girl fights for her "Papa"

Caelyn Murphy's "Papa," her grandfather Dave Haney, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer two years ago when Caelyn was 5.

It scared a girl so young -- the C-word scares anyone at any age.

But Caelyn didn't hide behind her fear that Papa would die. She became his "spirit-lifter" as he underwent Chemo and radiation treatments. She sent him T shirts of big hand-drawn hearts with this message: "I love you, Papa." Last year, she set up a lemonade stand outside her home in Indian Trial to raise money for cancer research.

On Saturday, she's hosting another stand, and Aug. 7, she and her family and friends from Indian Trail will be in Papa's hometown of Davenport Center in upstate New York to walk in that area's Relay For Life, the nationwide fundraiser to fight cancer.

"There's a lot of reasons I do this," Caelyn, 7, said. "He's part of my family -- and he loves me."

After treatments and surgery to remove his left lung, Haney's doctors have proclaimed him in remission. Caelyn likes the R-word.

"It told her that her Papa may survive this," said her mother, Heather Murphy, Haney's daughter. "She's kept everyone's spirits up. She's always talking about doing stuff for Papa.

"She constantly talks about killing cancer."
Their family has a bad history of cancer victims. Papa's father died of cancer, so did a son, Heather's brother.

So the fight is personal for the 2nd grader at Sardis Elementary in Union County.

That is why Charlotte-born Caelyn, Heather, Caelyn's grandmother Rececca Haney, and friends plan to walk from 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7 into the next day to 7 a.m.

Papa, too, plans to walk as long as his energy holds out on one lung.

"His cancer scares me and makes me want to fight for him," Caelyn said. "I want him to survive. So I fight."

So if you're out around Indian Trail on Saturday (from 9 a.m. until whenever) turn into the Arbor Glen neighborhood off Unionville-Indian Trail Road and buy a cup of lemonade from Caelyn.

You might let the girl know her Papa's proud of her.


Anonymous said...

sooooo sweet!