Making a difference

Junior Abby Haley is working to beat cancer


Photo by photos provided by Abby Haley

Abby Haley encourages her social media following to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. On her own, she raised almost $80,000.

Kaci Craig, Staff Writer

As she walked in, she started to feel nervous. The room was filled with anticipation, while everyone waited for the results. The crowd stood around, talking about whose fundraiser would take the top prize. When everyone finally stepped on stage, the room grew silent, waiting for the result of the last seven weeks. NHS Junior Abby Haley was one of those people in the room, and she wondered if her efforts would vault her into the winner’s circle…

Haley was one of 22  students in Indiana nominated for a spot in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year competition, not because of her many fundraising activities, but because of her desire to make a difference in the world of cancer.  

Haley had many reasons for saying yes to join the Student of the Year contest. She wanted to help everyone in her life who has been affected by cancer. But one of those people holds a special place in her heart.

“When I was in second grade, there was a kid in my class that passed away of cancer and it affected me a lot. I felt like I needed to do something. And around that time I also lost a family friend to cancer,” Haley says. “And also right now there is a girl who plays lacrosse and basketball at Noblesville East, Megan Broviak [who also has cancer]. It really touched me and I wanted to do everything I could to help.”

Megan Broviak, a seventh grader at NEMS, met Haley through the noblesville basketball programs.

According to Broviak, when she found out that Haley was running for the Student of the Year program, “knowing that Noblesville has someone as kind, talented, and just overall as fantastic of a person as Abby representing our schools makes me ecstatic,” Broviak said. “She raised money to help blood cancer research, and one day find a cure and save so many people’s lives, which makes me very proud just to be able to say that I  know her. Thank you a million times Abby!”

Haley used her Student of the year program to reach out to people, like Broviak, to try to help other find a cure.

“I think this will have a great impact, not only on just the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” Haley said. ”I think all the money we have raised and have donated will help with all sorts of cancers, all around the world.”

Haley’s efforts to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society were helped by her mom, Tiffani Haley-Hanan.

Haley-Hanan helped Haley with managing the funds raised and with planning events, like the East vs. West charity basketball game.

“She kinda led the way, and she told me what she wanted to do, and where she is more of a asker and thinker, I am more of a do-er,” Haley-Hanan said. “She came up with the ideas, and I was there to help put it all together.”

At the end of the seven weeks of the Student of the Year fundraiser, Haley had raised $79,158. The combined total from all 22 students in the competition was over $700,000.

Haley said she had her struggles raising the money, but she never let those problems stand in the way of her trying to help raise awareness for such an important cause. She says it taught her a valuable lesson.

“I think one of the biggest things I accomplished was getting out of my comfort zone. It was hard for me to ask people ‘Hey, can you donate to my company?’ and asking people for money,” Haley said. “But it was good for me to go out and talk to people and try to raise awareness. I think I raised as much awareness as I possibly could.”

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society competition wasn’t Haley’s first fundraiser. Among the many groups who have benefitted from her efforts is Peyton Manning and Riley Children’s Hospital. But her mother says this specific fundraiser was special.

“Abby has always had it in her heart to do this kind of work,” Haley-Hanan said. “I think this is her biggest accomplishment so far. It has helped to make her realize this could really be something that she could do in her future on a bigger level.”