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home : news : news Saturday, May 28, 2016

1/29/2014 Email this articlePrint this article 
Community will open its 'Hearts for the Hayens' Feb. 2

By Kate Howes
Staff writer

Serena Hayen of DeWitt recently suffered one of the worst losses a person can experience.

Yet, with all the love and support the community is showing her and her family, Hayen is getting through it.

Just after Christmas and right before New Year's, her husband, Mike, died of Stage 4 lung cancer.

In most any family, both parents have to work in order to pay the bills. The Hayen household is no different; however, once he became gravely ill, Mike had to stop working and leave his job at Guardian Industries.

Hayen is employed as a nurse at Westwing Place and her son, Doug, a senior at Central Community High School, holds a part-time job. Unfortunately the medical costs mounted quickly and considerably.

Almost immediately, a special group of people decided they were not going to let the family struggle on its own.

Doug is active in a number of athletic activities, one of which is wrestling.

JoJo Schroeder, one of the members of Central's wrestling family and his employer at Happy Joe's, said his fellow athletes and their families wanted very much to do something to help cover the costs associated with Mike's illness.

"Hearts for the Hayens" will hold a pancake breakfast benefit Sunday, Feb. 2, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. at the DeWitt Community Center, located at 512 10th St.

Breakfast plates will include pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage and a drink.

There also will be a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, gift baskets, a bake sale and t-shirts.

Monetary donations also may be made to "Hearts for the Hayens" at any First Central State Bank location.

All proceeds will go toward Mike's medical expenses and his family.

Those who know Doug describe him as a very friendly and caring person.

"He's always happy, always has a smile on his face," relates Schroeder.

His mom says although he's the biggest of her three children - wrestling as a heavyweight for Central - Doug is a very compassionate young man.

"He has integrity and a great heart," Hayen says. "Someone who is as big as he is might look intimidating, but he's got a big heart to match."

Hayen cannot believe how sympathetic and kind everyone has been to her and her family. Even people she doesn't know have shown her tremendous generosity.

"It's overwhelming," she shares. "This is a wonderful town, a wonderful place to live. There's so much crime in this world, you start to wonder where all the good people are. They're here in DeWitt. I don't even know how to begin to thank an entire community."

Hayen also appreciates how supportive Doug's coaches and friends have been. She says when she was told about the benefit, she was very flattered and proud her son's friends' families think so highly of him that they would want to do something so generous for his family.

"It's devastating when you lose a loved one," Hayen relates. "But you see things from both ends of the spectrum. You're devastated, yet with all the love and support you get from people you also feel joy. It's incredible."

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