Niagara Gazette

Niagara Living

September 4, 2008

DELUCA: This time it's personal

When my first child was born, I wasn’t above walking up to the bassinet where he slept and jiggling him to make sure he was still breathing.

It didn’t get better with my second child. As my sons grew, every night while they slept I checked them before I went to bed to make sure they were all right.

Even today, when they flash me a smile or give me a bear hug as they leave me, I sometimes have to bat down vague worries that something might happen. The very idea chills me to my core.

Yes, I’m one of those kind of mothers.

That’s why, when I found out about Beth Hayes’ brain tumor, my heart hurt for the whole Hayes family.

The Hayes are good friends of my family. Don, kind, generous and funny, golfs regularly with my husband, Doug. Lois, Don’s wife, is a gentle hearted, soft-spoken school teacher who works at Emmet Belknap Middle School in Lockport.

They raised their three beautiful daughters in their comfortable North Tonawanda home, and one of their daughters, Beth, worked at the animal hospital where I sometimes brought my dog, Meistro. I was always comforted knowing that Beth watched over him when he spent the night at the vet because my big, scary-looking doberman is a bit of a baby.

Not too long ago we found out that Beth had a brain tumor. This beautiful, free-spirited 27-year-old had gone to the eye doctor because she was having trouble with her vision and was told by the doctor that she had a brain tumor and would need surgery.

Since then, the world has changed for the Hayes family. There’s been a number of surgeries, and Beth suffered a stroke, probably from the assault on her body. She can’t move very well, and she has trouble communicating and focusing. Sometimes, she doesn’t recognize friends and loved ones. And, doctors have recently found another tumor in her heart that will require more surgery when she regains some of her strength.

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