In October, our 15-year-old-daughter, Hayley Brockway, developed Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. This rare condition was caused by a reaction to her immunizations, and only occurs in about four out of a million people each year. Hayley was hospitalized at St. Vincent's Hospital in Green Bay, Wis., from Tuesday, Oct. 8,2013, until Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. She went into a coma and became paralyzed as a result of the ADEM. She had to relearn to walk, eat, and speak. She had vision problems, memory deficits, and at one point was unable to even talk after waking from her coma.
This brave little girl has fought very hard, and has inspired many people with her efforts toward recovery and her unwavering positive spirit. Within the year, we hope that Hayley will have achieved a complete recovery, with no lingering effects from her illness. During her hospitalization, we started a Facebook Page called "Hugs for Hayley", which had 595 members that followed her story and her milestones towards recovery, offering both Hayley and the rest of our family a lot of love and support when we needed it most. The community, our friends and our family rallied around us, sending presents, cards, and donations. They showered Hayley with their love and encouragement. Blue and Purple "Hugs for Hayley" bracelets were designed and sold, and it was common to see people wearing them everywhere.
Jan. 11, 2014, at the Rapid River Lions Club, a spaghetti dinner was held to raise money for medical expenses for our family. Dozens of amazing volunteers spent hours organizing, gathering donations, and setting up this fabulous event, where over 500 people attended to show their love and support for Hayley and our family. It is a truly humbling experience to see what this great community will do to help their own... it is a debt that our family doesn't know how to begin to repay. There are literally hundreds of businesses and groups that donated prizes, money or items for the dinner, so many that we can't list them all. On behalf of our entire family, we would like to extend our sincerest thank you to each and every one of you. Your generosity and kindness gave us the ability to focus on the most critical issue at hand, Hayley's recovery. Our "Hugs for Hayley" Facebook page is still up. We will periodically keep you up to date with Hayley's progress, until the day we can shut the page down forever. Thank you again. The Brockway family.