Haley (Miller) Wilhour, the daughter of Bruce and Sandra Miller of rural Beecher City, lived what many could call a blessed life. She married her high school sweetheart, Jason Wilhour, the summer after her graduation, and happily raised four children with him. She loved her husband and her children, helping her church family at Church of Christ in Beecher City, and baking for her family and friends.
As many area residents know, however, Haley Wilhour was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a rare blood and bone marrow cancer, during a fifth pregnancy in July of 2015. The Wilhour family was confident and faithful as Haley began treatment. Haley herself wrote a CaringBridge.org update shortly after diagnosis, quoting Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you.” Her struggle tugged many heartstrings, and several fundraisers were organized in support.
Haley’s leukemia advanced past the resources of Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, and she was transferred out west for further treatment. The family had hoped to seek treatment at a Tijuana cancer clinic, but Haley was ultimately transferred back to the United States due to severe pneumonia. On July 5 of this year, Haley Wilhour died in Sharp Memorial Hospital in Chula Vista, Calif.
The Miller and Wilhour families worked hard to support Haley through her entire battle, and they continue to support her and her loved ones after her passing. Haley herself had said at one time that she wouldn’t know what to do without her family and their support. And in the wake of her passing, the family still works for Jason Wilhour and his children as they recuperate.
This weekend, on Saturday, Sept. 1, the Wilhour family will hold a 5K race in memory of Haley and her battle with cancer. The race will be part of the St. Elmo Labor Day celebrations, replacing a 5K race usually sponsored by Dieterich Bank of St. Elmo. Proceeds of the race will benefit the Wilhour family.
Monica Wilhour, one of the 5K organizers and Haley’s sister-in-law, said that the opportunity to hold a memorial run essentially fell into her lap. Kimberly Baron, a member of the St. Elmo Park Board and a key organizer of the Labor Day festivities, asked the family if they were willing to organize the race in the bank’s place. Monica said yes and planning began in early August.
Registration for the Haley Wilhour Memorial 5K starts at 7:30 a.m. at St. Elmo High School, with the race beginning at 8. The race path will leave the high school, pass through the country, and will return to where it set out from. Runner registration is $20 per person. All proceeds will benefit Justin Wilhour, as well as his and Haley’s four children: Onna, Graidon, Paylin, and Brantly, all residents of Altamont.
Monica Wilhour asks that any runners with a Haley’s Fight t-shirt please wear the shirt to the race. 5K shirts have not been produced due to an unexpectedly short organizing period.
Additionally, September is Blood Cancer/Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month, according to a schedule of cancer awareness months published by the American Cancer Society. Visit cancer.org for more information about caring for a loved one with cancer, donating, or getting involved in your community.