By Caitlyn Kirby
At age 17 most kids’ lives consist of long days at school. Megan Hiday spends her days in and out of the hospital with a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
Megan, a junior at Delta High School, was diagnosed with CIC Dux4 Sarcoma on Dec. 1, 2021.
In June 2021, Megan got a CT scan because of stomach issues. Megan’s older sister, Jessica James, said that in a review of the scan later you could see the tumor starting to develop, but no one caught it at the time.
A few months ago Megan noticed a bump on her right butt cheek and down her leg. Doctors dismissed it as a bruise, and then a bug bite, Jessica says. After a while of it not getting better, Megan and her family went to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
“We just saw it getting bigger and it was getting to be an uncontrollable pain,” Megan says.
After getting testing done at Riley, it took six weeks to get the diagnosis of CIC Dux4 Sarcoma back.
According to Dr. Ross Okimoto from the University of California-San Francisco, who is a specialist in rare sarcomas, only 100 people in the world have this specific sarcoma. Because of the rarity of this diagnosis, the testing had to be sent out to specialists.
Megan’s cancer has spread to her lungs and lymph nodes.
She is currently undergoing chemotherapy, and she has had three blood transfusions so far. She has had two biopsies on the tumor. These surgeries were to see if there was an infection under the tumor and this is why she was getting sick.
“Chemo makes me really tired and really have no energy, but on the other hand there are days that I felt like I could take on the world and do everything,” Megan says. “So after chemo treatment you can’t predict which side you’re going to get.”
Megan is continuing her schooling with a teacher who works in the hospital with her. This makes school much less overwhelming for her.
Megan and Jessica said that trying to stay entertained while in the hospital is a challenge that they are still trying to adjust to. Recently, Megan was in the hospital from Dec. 30 to Jan. 13. Instead of being out with friends, Megan had to spend her New Year’s holiday in the hospital.
Jessica, who lives in Indianapolis, has been one of her biggest supporters. A 2008 Delta graduate, she finds time to spend with Megan through game nights. Megan says they usually play for a couple hours each time and team up against their brother, Matthew Colton, and his fiancée, Sharla.
“I’m sure it cheers her up to see how much I suck at Call Of Duty,” Jessica says.
The night that Megan was diagnosed, Jessica told her that cancer was just a big word. Megan says that those words have kept her going.
“I’m staying positive because being negative won’t change anything,” Jessica says. “Being positive not only helps Megan keep her spirits up but everyone else’s, too.”
Neither Megan nor her mom, Kimberly Colton Hiday, are able to work during this time, so people supporting them has been a big help. Megan says that the Delta community can help support her by making a card and giving it to assistant principal Ms. Joey Gossett, ordering something off of her Amazon wishlist, or donating to her GoFundMe page.
“People donating and reaching out has shown how many people care and how many people are here for me, and I’m definitely not going through this alone,” Megan says.
After word of Megan’s diagnosis got around to the Delta community, many people thought of actions they could take to be there and show support toward Megan.
Ms. Elana Camp, the choir teacher at the high school and middle school, has had Megan as a student since sixth grade. After finding out about Megan’s diagnosis, Camp came up with the idea of a sunshine box. This box would include things that could be useful to her and her family and things that could bring her comfort.
“Right away I wanted her to know it’s not going to be easy, but it is going to be something she’s not alone through,” Camp says.
The box began to fill up with things such as gas gift cards, blankets, snacks, coloring books, and other little things for her to do while in the hospital. The box was delivered to Megan on Jan. 8.
On Friday, Jan. 21, between 200 and 300 students signed a large banner of support for Megan during the high school lunch periods. The banner was made by students in Mr. Tim Cleland’s classes. This banner was delivered to Megan shortly afterward.
On Tuesday Feb. 15, at the home basketball game against Rushville, the boys’ basketball program will be hosting a Coaches vs. Cancer game. Basketball head coach Mark Detweiler is wanting to raise money for Megan’s GoFundMe and bring additional awareness to her situation.
There will be many differences from the Coaches vs. Cancer game to just a regular home game. Coaches will be wearing tennis shoes instead of the normal dress shoes. Cheerleaders will bring around buckets to collect money for Megan. Ms. Camp will also be leading the Delta High School choir in the singing of the National Anthem prior to the game.
Megan wants to attend the game, but plans for how she will stay isolated from others to protect her health are still being decided.
Detweiler says that he has never been put in the position of having to quit a job because of illness, or constantly having to be worried about money for travel, food, and hotels. So, his hope is that the community will step up and assist financially as she fights the battle.