In today's In Search Of report...
This time of year .
most of us have some kind of wish list.
It might include the latest and greatest gadget .
or a new pair of shoes .
or some other material item.
But for one family in Sparta .
Christmas came a little early this year.
Nat pop eating breakfast
Take one look at little Delaney Hayden and you can
probably tell life hasn't exactly been easy for this
three year old.
Shianne and Adam Hayden
S :36 She was 15 months old at the time and we found
a lump at the time.
We found out that it was cancer.
Cernovial cell sarcoma.
It was totally out of the blue and that's what gets
Four kids everyone is healthy, life's good and then
wham - one day life is different.
THere's obviously a lot of thoughts that go through
Why does this happen to her, it's not fair.
I don't think we can fully comprehend why or how this
But it does.
They made the decision to amputate Delaney's arm below
her elbow and with that
she was cancer free.
But at a check up earlier this year - they discosvered
the cancer had returned.
Below her elbow and in her lungs.
So she started chemo right away and had another amputation
above her elbow.
It's been a rough road these past few months which
is why they are trying to cling to the things that
make them happy.
This fall we took her to Adam's parents and she had
a dog and cat and she had a smile on her face the
whole four days we were there.
And I looked at Adam and said - we need a dog.
Enter Linda Bena.
nat popfrom Hayden house
Linda and her family head up a charity that provides
children with cancer and other challenges - a pet.
It's called Audra's Animals...named after a girl who
died from cancer who just happens to be Linda's daughter.
nat pop of sad music
Audra was had just finishing 8th grade.
She was playing softball and she had been complaining
about headaches and fatigue and was nauseated....so
we had an appt.
to see if something was going on.
And they were concerned with double vision and scheduled
We were sitting in this room and I would venture to
guess 7-8 doctors.
They never used the word cancer.
They were saying that Audra's has growth in her brain
and they were talking about treatment and her quality
And I thought they meant quality of life through her
It was a 12-18 month diagnosis.
Audra had always been and animal lover and throughout
the 345 days battling her brain tumor - she would
find solace in her horse Annie and her dog Sadie.
An animal - they have that unconditional love.
There were times she would be upset and Tim and I
couldn't console her - but Sadie would lick those
She would be giggling before you knew it.
Audra passed away in July
of 2010 and Linda knew immediately
how they could honor her.
That's how we established Audra's Animals from Heaven.
They contact us...and I instruct them to teach out
to the local shelter and talk to them about what fits
their needs....it's whatever they wish.
We take care of the adoption fees and we provide the
family with all the bills for a year.
The food, the vet bills.
They helped more than 20 families so far...
Our very first was Alexis and she got a bird.
Another one was Miss Olivia and she was a patient
when Audra was being treated.
We found her a perfect little kitten.
Matthew was born with a muscular disease and reached
out to the Bena's.
They found the most beautiful dog Sunny that was Matthew's
companion when he was ill.
He has passed away.
But now Sunny has been helping Matthews parents deal
with their losss.
I'm sure many people remember Aaron Johnson from Holmen.
Aaron wanted a tabbycat, orange and white stripped,
He's pretty specific.
Low and behold Audra's little wings we fluttering
around because they had exactly what he wanted at
the Humane Society.
Which brings us back to Delaney.
When the Hayden's heard about Audra's Animals they
And it was like a week later that we had a dog in
This fall, Linda hand delivered Bentley to their home
for what the kids thought was a visit!
we get to keep him!
It was wonderful.
To watch these four children just light up.
A couch full of kids and all of a sudden Bentley is
rolling on his back and getting his back scratched.
It bring tears to my eyes.
She is just an amazing lady.
And I know that some people think it is just a dog.
But once we saw this and the happiness in her face
and the other kids too.
Our kids have had to give up a lot over the last year
with everything we've had to do for her.
This was a decision not just for her - but for the
other kids too.
To have something they;ve always wanted.
What Audra's Animals does is just amazing.
We just have to love him and feed him.
It's just such a simple thing.
To see that bond and how it brings everyone together
is just so cool.
He is a perfect fit for our family.
this is Audra's first Christmas
For the Bena's there will always be something missing
that can never be replaced.
nat of stocking
But they have found a way to turn their loss into
a living, breathing gift.
It makes us feel really good that we can share Audra's
I think she would be really happy and feel really
Audra is touching us in a way that she knows were
doing the right this.
In Sparta, with photographer John Schmidt, Jennifer
Livingston, news 8.
The Bena's are holding a fundraiser for Audra's Animals.
Placing Bets for Audra's Pets
Coulee Golf Bowl, Onalaska
Placing Bets for Audra's Pets.
It will be held January 31st at Coulee Golf Bowl in