Parents of eight children both have cancer, move forward with faith

Published: Tuesday, July 8 2014 11:45 a.m. MDT

Amy said one of the biggest blessings amidst their family trials is having great neighbors who take care of them when they can’t do it themselves.

Just before Shailynn was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, the Haws’ sold their house. They had to move out quickly, but were having a hard time finding another residence.

At the perfect time, a lady in their neighborhood got married and moved out of her house, freeing the space for the Haws family.

Although they were originally planning to move out of the neighborhood, Haws said they wouldn’t have been as supported through their trials had they left.

“I don’t know how we would have gotten through anything without all of our neighbors. They dropped everything and rallied around us,” Amy said. “My youngest at the time was a year old, but I never had to worry that someone wasn’t with my kids.”

Currently, Amy’s sister runs a Facebook page called “Stand For The Haws Family” where she posts updates about their health and gives information regarding donations to a fund for their family.

The Haws’ neighbors are also fundraising by preparing a golf tournament and bowl-a-thon on Aug. 2 in hopes of easing the burden of medical bills.

Amy said that although it will help financially, she appreciates the service and support they’ve received even more.

“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, but if you have to go through something like this you just hope that you have the kind of support we do because it’s been everything,” she said. “We’ll come home and somebody will be fixing our air conditioner, or our lawn will be mowed. No matter what happens, we know we can drop everything and there are people watching out for us.”

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Haws’ have leaned on their testimonies for support.

Haws said as she’s lived through the last couple of months, she knows her testimony is all she and her children have to hang on to.

“I don’t know how I’d get through every day if I didn’t believe there is an eternal perspective,” Haws said. “I’ve had to turn everything over and say this isn’t in my hands anymore.”

Amy said the most difficult part of all their trials is watching her kids grow up too fast.

“They missed out on a lot as kids because I was never home,” Amy said. “They don’t know what normal is.”

But the trials have only made the kids stronger.

Shailynn and her husband moved in with the Haws so they can take care of them.

“People might say we’re crazy to have eight kids, but if one of them is down, there’s always someone to come pick them up,” Amy said.

Brayden Haws, the oldest of the eight children, married a girl who lost her mom to colon cancer when she was 16.

“We couldn’t ask for anyone better for my kids to look up to because as much as she went through she sees the positive in everything,” Amy said of her daughter-in-law. “It’s huge for my kids to see someone who’s been through the absolutely worst who is still happy.”

And throughout everything they’ve endured, their family is happy.

“I think we all know we only have so much time and the time we have we shouldn’t sit around and dwell on the negative,” Amy said. “We’ve just stepped back and realized what’s most important is that we have our family. If you don’t have your kids and your family, you don’t really have anything.”

Megan Marsden Christensen writes for the Faith and Family sections. She recently graduated from BYU-Idaho with a bachelor's degree in communication.

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