Lenore Keller Ashby and Amber Detering were distributing Whiteout Game t-shirts at Monday evening’s Anna-Jonesboro Community High School junior varsity football game.

A-J football team set to host Whiteout Game

The community will have an opportunity to help support a special project at this week’s Anna-Jonesboro Community High School varsity football game.

A-J is scheduled to host Nashville in the Wildcats’ 2018 Whiteout Game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday at The Pit.

In keeping with tradition, the game will help to generate revenue which will support the Muscular Dystrophy Association, MDA.

This year, the proceeds also will support a project which is being planned at the Anna City Park in Anna.

The project is being called Hadley’s Haven, and is named in honor of Hadley Chase Ashby, who was 19 months old when she passed away in December 2017.

Hadley was born with a birth defect in which a part of her esophagus was missing. 

Her mother, Lenore Keller Ashby, recalled that in the first days of her life, Hadley faced a number of complications and had to undergo corrective surgical procedures.

After nearly 80 days in the hospital, Hadley was able to come home. She came home with a shunt, a reservoir and a feeding tube.

On Dec. 12, 2017, the shunt had a catastrophic failure. Three days later, Haley’s parents decided to shut down the machines which were keeping their daughter alive.

On the day after she left the hospital, Lenore recalled that she had a feeling in her heart that she needed to do something to keep Hadley’s legacy alive. She thought about a park – an all-inclusive playground for all children, no matter what kind of challenges they may face.

The dream of a park is now moving closer to reality – and will be called Hadley’s Haven. A non-profit organization, Hadley’s Haven Inc., has been established to oversee the project.

Plans call for the project to be developed at the Anna City Park in Anna. The project is expected to cost in the range of $700,000.

A lot of support already has been shown for the project from local businesses, civic groups and organizations.

In early August, Ashby and Hadley’s Haven. Inc. vice president Amber Detering presented information about the proposed project to the Anna City Council.

Detering, who had watched Hadley grow up, has a child with a disability. Detering sees the playground as a way to leave a legacy to honor Hadley, her own child, and all children who may face special challenges in their lives.  

At the August meeting, city officials voiced their strong support for the project. “I think we’ll be blessed by this,” Mayor Steve Hartline said at the meeting.

Friday night’s Whiteout Game at A-J gives the community a chance to help plans for the development of Hadley’s Haven to move forward. The Whiteout Game is in its sixth year. Over the years, the game has generated $109,000 to help support MDA.

Thirteen hundred Whiteout Game t-shirts were made available for fans to wear to the game. A silent auction featuring donated items is planned.

(Editor’s note: information about the challenges which Hadley faced originally appeared in a story which aired on KFVS television in Cape Girardeau. The story also was posted on the station’s website.)




The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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