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Ethan’s Story

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

By his mother, Kristen Haley

In February 2018, Ethan first started having symptoms, and in May 2018, the first MRI showed a brain tumor. He had surgery and 33 rounds of radiation. They scheduled him to have regular MRIs. In May 2019, his MRI showed spinal tumors. He had another surgery and another 33 rounds of radiation.

But in November 2019, the MRI showed that all tumors were gone!

Fast-forward to February 2020, and we were blindsided when imaging showed he had four new brain tumors—all inoperable. He endured another 10 rounds of radiation. We were told he might have six months to a year to live. In September 2020, he started to show more symptoms, and he had even more radiation. On December 20, 2020, Ethan went home to be with Jesus. 

The hardest part of our journey was watching Ethan quickly lose function and abilities.

The most unexpected part of what we endured was the amazing people we met along the way. We found hope in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We also couldn’t have done it without the amazing local foundations and CompassionNet medical team, and our extended church family as well. 

We would encourage other families facing a devastating diagnosis to not live in denial. Don’t try to do it alone; let people help. Accept help from foundations. Above all, live every day to the fullest and enjoy each moment as best as you can. 

The Haley Family will be joining us on our annual Sunrise Retreat this month, a bereavement experience offering rest, restoration, hope, and joy for families who have lost a child to cancer. In looking ahead to their retreat, Ethan’s mother, Kristen, shares their hopes for this time: “At the retreat, we are looking forward to meeting other families and having some much-needed family time.” Learn more about our Sunrise Retreat here.


During the month of September, we will be sharing stories written by some of the families who will be attending our Sunrise Retreat this month. We hope you will join us in praying for these families who have endured unimaginable loss, that God will use the week away with their family and Lighthouse volunteers to bring healing and hope.

Our fundraising goal for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is $30,000, because that’s what it takes to put on a Sunrise Retreat. From meals and gifts to Parent’s Night Out, sibling activities and nights of remembrance, every single dollar we receive in September is going to be invested into providing a restorative experience for families who have lost their child to cancer. When it comes to our growing Sunrise Retreat program, more funding means more families served. Whether you can give $1, $100 or $1,000, please join us in honoring the memories of the children we’ve lost by providing support for the families who will never forget them. Visit this page to learn more or donate.

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