Haynes is LawCo.
Circle of Friends'
ambassador for
ACH fund-raiser

Haiden Haynes is a second grade student of Heather Coleman at Walnut Ridge's Ben R. Bush Elementary School. Besides being Haiden's teacher, Coleman shares another common bond with her. As a girl, Coleman also received care from Arkansas Children's Hospital.

John Bland

Eight-year-old Haiden Haynes of Alicia has been chosen as ambassador for the upcoming Lawrence County Circle of Friends' Tips for Tots event. Last year, the event raised approximately $30,000 for Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Haiden, a bright, happy and independent child, is living proof of the invaluable services that Children's Hospital provides to both children and families and why supporting the hospital is vital.

Stephanie Anderson, Circle of Friends member, said children such as Haiden are the reason their organization raises money for the hospital. "This is why we do this," she said.

This year's Tips for Tots fund-raiser is planned for Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Walnut Ridge Country Club. Table waiter-sponsors and their guests will carry out different themes, participate in the silent and live auctions, hear speakers and have dinner.

Anderson said corporate sponsorships for the event are still available, and items are needed for the silent and live auctions. Members are also raising funds by selling tickets on a $250 gift certificate good for the Mall at Turtle Creek in Jonesboro. To be a sponsor, auction donor or to purchase tickets for the gift certificate, contact Anderson at 897-1609.

Family learns value of ACH

Haiden's parents, Robby and Cayse Haynes, have certainly learned the value of Children's Hospital through their daughter's experiences there.

"I don't think we'd have Haiden right now if it weren't for Children's," Cayse said.

Haiden was born July 1, 2000, at St. Bernards in Jonesboro. Eight hours later she was flown by Angel One helicopter to Children's Hospital in Little Rock, where she would spend the first six weeks of her life.

Haiden was born with Escobar syndrome, a subtype of multiple pterygium. She was born with a cleft palate and could not eat by mouth. She also had kidney problems and muscle contractures, among other conditions, but the syndrome did not affect her heart or learning functions.

Apparently, both Robby and Cayse are carriers of the recessive gene that causes the syndrome. However, their 16-month-old son, Harmon, was not born with the syndrome.

Haiden wears hearing aides and is considerably smaller than children her age. She can walk, but uses a scooter for longer distances.

Since birth, Haiden has undergone 12 surgeries, all of them at Children's. She has had surgery to correct the cleft palate, surgery on both feet, and surgery on her spinal cord, to name a few. In April, Haiden had rods placed in her back.

"They've been great down there," Robby said of Children's Hospital.

"They try to make it fun for the children," Anderson said.

Cayse said that volunteers bring age-appropriate toys around to the patients. They also brought a wagon and pillows, so that Haiden could go downstairs during one of her hospitalizations.

"I'm a tough cookie," said Haiden. Her daughter even had a smile on her face after going through the surgery in April, said Cayse.

Teacher has special connection

"She comes in every morning with a smile on her face," said Heather Coleman, Haiden's second-grade teacher at Walnut Ridge's Ben R. Bush Elementary School.

"She's a joy to have in class," Coleman said. "She's just a very caring little girl, very sociable. She likes to be very independent, too. In class, she does very well and works very hard.

"Everyone here at school just loves her," she added.

Coleman, who is also a member of the Circle of Friends, explained that she went to Arkansas Children's Hospital as a child to be treated at a clinic there. "I see the importance of the hospital and Circle of Friends," she said.

"I feel like I'm connected to Haiden because I've been there," Coleman said.

ACH cares for patients and their families

Through their many visits to Children's, Haiden and her family have become well known at Children's.

"They remember you down there," Robby said.

They know them by name at the clinics. Everyone says, "Hi, Haiden, Hi, Haiden," according to Haiden.

"They're just great. They don't mind to answer questions ... they take care of the family members, too," Robby said.

While Haiden was in the neonatal intensive care unit, hospital personnel would call security at night when Cayse was walking between the hospital and the Ronald McDonald House, where Robby and Cayse stayed at the time.

"They would make sure I was resting and eating," Cayse said.

"I've never had a bad experience there," she said, adding, "I always recommend Children's Hospital to anyone, including my out-of-state relatives."

Haiden will continue to go to Children's for regular checkups or treatments as needed as she grows up.

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