PROJECT: Smile!

  • Michael Hagerman is an Assembly of God pastor in Muskegon, MI.
  • He is married to Amy and they have three daughters.
  • Their youngest daughter, Bethany, is 3 years old.
  • At the end of March 2008, the Hagerman family found out Bethany had cancer.

Michael gives some background to this story –

Bethany’s battle with cancer continues to be very difficult. The Christmas season was very hard. Her bone marrow is not functioning properly and so we had to take her in for blood transfusions every two days. She was extremely sick for awhile, but is starting to feel a little better. We have been able to regulate her pain medicine to help ease her pain. Now our main concern is trying to find a treatment that will do damage to the cancer. We are hoping to get her on a brand new clinical trial in February. The doctors have a few treatment ideas, but we are limited because of her age and size. We have not given up hope even though things are just not looking good. She truly needs a huge miracle. We continue to believe God for complete healing, peace, comfort, wisdom and strength. Thank you so much everyone for your continual prayers!!

Amy, Bethany’s Mom, has a sobering update –

We got some pretty difficult news from Bethany’s doctors this week. We have never been given a timeframe on Bethany’s life expectancy before, but this week the doctors gave us one. The chemo that she has been having has not been working. If this continues and nothing we try does damage to the cancer, than she may only have 2-4 months left. We have been waiting to get on a brand new clinical trial. If that one works, that may add another 2-4 months.

 Our family’s heart has been so overwhelmed with sadness these last few days. It is only by the grace of God and His mercies that we have peace.

We have to now focus on the happiness of Bethany. We do not want these next few months to be miserable on her. It breaks our heart to see her feeling sick and we want to do everything we can to brighten her spirit. So, I really feel the Lord placed an idea on my heart. Here it is:

PROJECT: Smile!

We would like to brighten Bethany’s day with mail from those who have been praying for her. So many people have asked me if there is anything they can do for her or our family and this would be a great idea. Help bring a smile on Bethany’s face and not only her face, but her sisters’ and family member’s faces. She loves getting mail!! It doesn’t have to be anything special. If you need an idea, she loves animals and in particular puppies. We really aren’t asking for anything special, just a simple hello will do.  

  • Bethany is now 3 years old.
  • Her older sister Kathryn (Katy) is 7 years old.
  • And Audrey is 4 years old.

Our Impact youth group has signed on to PROJECT: Smile! We’ll be meeting at my house this Friday evening, January 22, at 7:00 PM to make stacks and stacks of cards for Bethany, Katy, and Audrey, and for Michael and Amy too.

If you want to join us at my house, or if you just want the Hagermans address to send your own PROJECT: Smile! cards, please comment here or send me an email.

9 Responses to “PROJECT: Smile!”

  1. Betsy Says:

    This is the least any of us can do. I think we should also pray over these cards and join our faith with theirs for complete healing.

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  2. Suzanne Simpson Says:

    How about an address?

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  3. Craig T. Owens Says:

    UPDATE — Just received this email from Amy Hagerman (Bethany’s Mom).

    I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have been sending cards and packages to Bethany and her sisters. Seriously, we are so humbled by your thoughtfulness. You should see the smiles and hear the squeals of joy when the girls see the mail truck pull in front of our house. Our mail carrier is getting a huge kick out of all of this too. She delivers the mail each day with a big smile on her face. Its sweet. Earlier this week, a police officer even came to our house to deliver a card to Bethany. Pretty cool right? We have been averaging 75-100 pieces of mail a day and have received at least 1000 pieces so far. We read each one and record each name and location. We have gotten stuff from all around the world. What amazes me the most is the fact that this represents just a portion of the people who are praying for Bethany. From the very beginning, my husband and I have always said that we pray that what we are going through with Bethany will be a testimony of the greatness of God. We know Bethany’s story is powerful and we long that people may come to Christ through it. No matter what happens with Bethany, we know that God is in control. Knowing that God is in control is the only thing that gives me peace some days.

    Well, I better go. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!! Please pray that next week’s scans/tests go well for Bethany. We will be meeting with the doctors for some major conversations. We would really appreciate as many prayers as possible.

    God Bless,
    Amy

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  4. Craig T. Owens Says:

    THE LATEST NEWS —

    Hello friends,
    My husband and I went to Ann Arbor yesterday to meet with a few doctors. We were kind of hoping to get some good news. However, after talking to the doctors for over 2 hours the news is NOT good. Bethany will no longer be receiving any treatment. Her cancer has progressed so much that at this point, nothing would really help. The doctors went into great detail why she would not be able to get any treatment. Rather than just saying no, they actually explained it. We talked a lot about what other hospitals have and basically, there is nothing out there that U of M does not have.

    She has cancer basically on every bone of her body except her hands and feet. 95% of her bone marrow on her left side has cancer in it and 50% on the other side has cancer in it. The cancer has done major damage in her skull area. The bones near her cheeks and sinus area have eroded and so even if they were able to get rid of more cancer, they would never be able to fix those bones. Those eroded bones in and of itself are fatal.

    Basically, we are at the point right now, where we are really concentrating on keeping her pain free. She will continue to get transfusions for a short time, maybe a couple of weeks top. After the transfusions stop working, then she will have just a few days left.

    I apologize if this is a very difficult thing to read. Trust me, I understand how emotionally hard it is to hear our story and what Bethany is going through. My own emotions are going through the roof. I HATE having to look at funeral homes for my 3 year old little girl. I HATE seeing her miserable. I HATE feeling stressed, confused, sad and really scared.

    I continue to put my trust in God… I know He sees each of my tears and hears my heart cry. I will continue to turn my eyes on the Lord.

    Please continue to pray… Please pray for my family. These next few days are going to be extremely difficult on all of us, expecially Bethany’s older sisters. They know that Bethany is very sick, but I don’t think they have a clue what is going to happen.

    Thank you all for your continual support and love shown through all of the mail. It really has brightened our day!

    God Bless,
    Amy

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  5. Betsy Says:

    This is a beautiful family – truly!!

    I cannot understand God’s plan in all of this, but I have learned that He uses ALL things together for good for those who are called according to His purposes. These lovely people are trusting God that He will do just that.

    I’m standing with them.

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  6. Craig T. Owens Says:

    UPDATE —

    Bethany is now with Jesus. No more medicine, no more needles, no more pain for her. Let’s continue to pray for the rest of the family. Here is the funeral information:

    Visitation – Friday, March 12, 2:00-4:00 and 6:00-8:00
    Sytsema Funeral Home
    6291 S. Harvey St.
    Norton Shores, MI 49444

    Funeral – Saturday, March 13, 2:00 with 1:00 visitation at church
    Central Assembly of God
    896 Home St.
    Muskegon, MI 49444

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  7. Specificity | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] praying for Bethany, I’m not just praying for healing from cancer, but healing from […]

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  8. Helping | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] this through our participation in PROJECT:Smile! (I wrote about that earlier, and you can read more here and here). I’m so proud of all of the people at Calvary who have rolled up their sleeves to […]

    Like


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