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Students send birthday cards to girl with cancer

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published April 6, 2015

 Fourth-grade student Toriona Sims makes a birthday card.

Fourth-grade student Toriona Sims makes a birthday card.

Photo provided by the West Bloomfield School District

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Six-year-old Hailey Shores’ birthday was extra special this year.

After hearing from media outlets about how the Trenton resident was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2011, Scotch Elementary fourth-grade teacher Elizabeth Costello reached out to Scotch Elementary students to send birthday cards in time for Hailey’s birthday celebration March 28.

“Every class participated, and we had hundreds of cards. We (have) almost 700 students here. It was great. The kids got behind this, and they were so excited to be able to do something to cheer (Hailey) up,” Costello said. 

Knowing that Hailey’s favorite color is pink and her favorite movie is Disney’s “Tangled,” the students were given pictures from the movie, and “the kids went from there,” Costello said.

“It was nice just to see the kids excited about making a difference. They were driven to make this little girl’s birthday special. I think it’s hard to get a whole school behind a project, but in this case, it was really easy,” Costello said. 

Upon receiving the diagnosis in 2011, Hailey had surgery to remove the tumor, six months of inpatient high-dose chemotherapy, and a stem cell transplant. Hailey remained in remission for six months, but in September 2012, she relapsed, her mother, Miranda Shores, said on Hailey’s GoFundMe page.

Hailey was given additional chemotherapy and 28 days of radiation. She also received a year of low-dose oral chemotherapy while at home. She has been in remission since 2012 and treatment-free since 2013, Miranda said in an interview.

Costello said that creating the birthday cards was a positive experience for the students, and the school is now out of pink paper.

In total, Hailey received over 2,000 birthday cards from people across the state.

“That doesn’t even include all the schools that sent her cards, all the kids who personally drew her a picture,” Miranda said. “We opened 35 packages. We still have probably another 30 to open. Most of them are from schools, from all the kids. … So it was a lot more than we ever expected.”

Costello said that in addition to cards, Scotch Elementary students brought in a Disney’s “Tangled” doll, bracelets and toys to send to Hailey.

“I’d like to thank all the schools that reached out, who made cards and wanted to participate,” Miranda said.

Hailey will have an MRI this month, and Miranda asked that everyone keep her daughter in their thoughts.

A GoFundMe page has been created so that Hailey can meet her favorite Disney princesses at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park July 3-20. To donate to Hailey’s GoFundMe page, visit