Hayley Ford is a cognitive neuroscience major from Memphis, Tennessee.
Ford was living in Searcy in the summer of 2018 when she got a call from her mom informing her of the diagnosis.
“When I found out that my mom had cancer, I was living here in Searcy,” Ford said. “I got a call from my mom saying it was stage four breast cancer, and it had spread to her ribs, and to her spine, and to her pelvis and to her femur — so it had gone throughout her entire body.”
After hearing the disappointing news, Ford took action. She connected with Ally Bateman, whose father also battled cancer, to start HU Valley, a support group for students who are being affected by cancer.
“HU Valley is a support group for people whose parent or parents are facing a serious illness,” Ford said.
Ford and Bateman related to each other through their similar situations, and they wanted to share that sense of community with other students who might be struggling with the impacts of cancer.
“We were thinking, ‘Man,we really wish we could share this with everyone at Harding that needs this type of community that understands what you’re going through,’” Ford said. “Our motivation was not to leave anyone feeling alone in their struggle, and we wanted to provide a place where people can share their stories and understand each other and be encouraging towards one another.”