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Still a bundle of energy

BY JORDYN REILAND | FEBRUARY 04, 2015 5:00 AM

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When Moriah Haveman grows up she wants to be a baker —specifically, a baker at Hy-Vee.

“I like to bake cakes and cookies just like my restaurant’s name, Moriah’s Cakes and Cookies,” the 5-year-old said matter-of-factly.

Moriah is well on her way to achieving her goals with a toy kitchen set and the latest installment for the “growing business,” a drive-through.

Friends and family see Moriah as energetic and friendly, something her older brother, Isaiah, 10, said is not uncommon.

“She usually just has a lot of energy; when she’s not super tired, she’s usually super energetic,” he said.

Moriah and three of her siblings — Isaiah, Ezra, and Zion — are all homeschooled by mother Michelle Haveman. She said, being a second-year teacher, some days are harder than others.

“Some days, it works pretty smoothly, and some days, it’s more chaotic than others,” she said and laughed. “This is our second year homeschooling, so we’re still trying to feel out some of the ways of doing things.”

Father Josh Haveman works at ACT, where he develops writing prompts. The Haveman family resides in Coralville with their grandparents, and they just recently moved back to the area after spending some time in Missouri.

Moriah’s favorite subject in school is reading, as is her little sister Zion’s, but Moriah likes to remind her that most of the time she’s not exactly reading.

“What Ziggy calls reading is just looking at the pictures,” she said before laughing.

Moriah also enjoys swimming, playing, and holding her youngest brother, Abram, who is 9 months old.

Moriah is rarely seen without a headscarf or hat, almost all of which are different shades of pink. She has two headscarves and “tons” of hats, even one with an Iowa Tigerhawk logo.  

“I love to wear [the head scarves] because it’s kind of like I have hair, but I actually don’t, so it’s really fun, and I like to pretend it’s my hair,” she said while stroking her headscarf.

 • • •

Moriah’s battle began in July 2014, when Michelle Haveman noticed a considerable and unusual decrease in the energy level of her bubbly 5-year-old.

“Well, that’s why when we started seeing her last summer all of a sudden I would take the kids to the beach, and she would want to sit with me in the shade … And I’d take them to go play with somebody, and she would kind of hide, and so it was very obvious that it was something,” she said.

Michelle Haveman had just had Abram and wasn’t sure if it had to do with the fact that Moriah was no longer getting as much attention, but it didn’t take her long to realize that wasn’t the issue.

Both Josh Haveman and Michelle Haveman noticed Moriah had several fevers without any other symptoms, and her skin color became paler. There came a time where the fevers wouldn’t go away, and they took her to the emergency room.

Moriah was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, one of the most common and treatable forms of leukemia.  It is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

Michelle Haveman says the results have been positive so far, as Moriah nears the end of what’s considered the “most intense” treatment.

“But every piece of news that we’ve received since then has been positive, and it’s a 100 percent blessing and God really taking care of us and sending people to surround us and help us through this,” she said.

The entire treatment typically lasts two-and-a-half years.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but she will continue to have treatment once a month until the end, a couple of years from now,” Michelle Haveman said.

And despite all of the commotion that it’s created for the family, Michelle Haveman says there are positives to be taken from the situation.

“At the same time it’s kind of strange to think that you could feel so blessed and kind of afraid and scared of what’s going to happen, but at the same time, we had so many people coming around us,” she said.

• • • 

The Haveman family didn’t know much about Dance Marathon until Moriah was diagnosed, and now they can’t imagine their lives without it.

“We were there for about a week, during her initial diagnosis, and during that time we became familiar with Dance Marathon very quickly because basically everything in the hospital is funded and supported by Dance Marathon,” Michelle Haveman said.

The family try to go to several of the sponsored Dance Marathon events, and they attended one earlier this year at the Coral Ridge Mall ice skating rink, where they skated together for the first time.

“We never thought that an organization like Dance Marathon could be a support network for us, but we thought we didn’t have any sort of reason to need them, and we’ve learned they are in fact very important and helpful,” Josh Haveman said.

They plan on attending the Big Event on Friday and Saturday — the 24-hour culmination of a year of fundraising and preparation — and they look forward to meeting the many families and dancers, something Michelle Haveman says Moriah enjoys quite a bit.

Moriah has become quite the local celebrity and even has her own Facebook page — I Heart Moriah — on which the family updates her condition with posts and photos.

“She loves meeting new people, she loves the attention, and it’s a wonderful experience for her,” Michelle Haveman said.


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