Hiatt takes special trip around the track

Published 7:04 pm Sunday, May 3, 2009

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Haley Hiatt is accustomed to burning around the track at J.G. “Choppy” Wagner Stadium. But the Washington sophomore’s leisurely stroll around the black oval Friday evening may have been the most meaningful.
The Pam Pack track standout, who has beaten cancer, took part in the survivors’ lap during the Beaufort County Relay for Life.
Several people trekked down Hiatt as she made her way around the track to offer words of encouragement.
Hiatt, who played basketball and volleyball earlier this year, has kept busy during track season. She customarily performs in four events each meet.
Hiatt has performed in the high jump, long jump, 800-meter relay, 1,600-meter relay and 400-meter dash. She qualified to the regional meet in two relay events.
Hiatt said her track coach, Jon Blank, is expecting big things out of her in the future.
Thanks in part to appearing in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd, Hiatt has become something of a celebrity. She’s received letters from people, young and old, praising the teen for her fight against cancer.
Hiatt, who said she’s feeling “great and energetic,” was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system, on Sept. 2.
Dr. Beng R. Fuh, Specialty Pediatrics, Hematology/Oncology and Pitt County Memorial Hospital’s Pediatric Outpatient Center, has been treating Hiatt. A port was put in Hiatt’s chest, which will likely come out in June or July, to administer chemotherapy.
That, along with radiation treatments, knocked out the disease.
Dr. Fuh told Hiatt she was “cancer-free” on Nov. 7.
Kim Hiatt, Haley’s mother, beams when she talks about her daughter.
Hiatt, her mother and close friend, Karlee Fottler, enjoyed an all-expense paid trip to Atlantic Beach over the weekend. The trip is part of the Mile of Hope, which is sponsored by the Raleigh Optimist Club and is for newly diagnosed pediatric cancer patients and their families.
Hiatt will get an even better trip in the near future, thanks to the Make-A-Wish-Foundation. She’ll be heading to Hawaii, with a Roxy surfboard, for surf lessons.
Whether it’s surfing or a simple but meaningful walk, this inspirational teen has done it with a winning and courageous smile.