AUBURN — When she was 6 years old, Hailey Sontag was diagnosed with brain cancer. Today, the seventh-grader at Auburn Middle School has recovered from the cancer and feels strong. She occasionally still feels the effects of the surgeries, but not enough to stop her from helping others — in a big way.

Hailey has helped raise more than $30,000 to aid people with cancer and other illnesses. On Oct. 12 she will be presented with the 2013 Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Survivor Award during the annual Dempsey Challenge.

The Sun Journal wanted to learn more about this courageous young lady.

Name: Hailey Sontag

Age: 12 (she turns 13 on Oct. 11 )

Hometown: Auburn

Parents: Sabrina & Timothy Craig and Chad Sontag

You had brain cancer when you were a little kid. What do you remember from back then? I think about going to the doctor’s all the time.

You went through surgeries and MRI tests and chemotherapy and lots of other uncomfortable stuff. What was the worst thing? Not knowing what was going to happen.

You were 6 when doctors found your cancer. Are there things about having cancer that you didn’t know back then that you know now? Yeah. You could die.

How does cancer effect you now? I have seizures. I don’t really remember them. Sometimes I remember stopping what I’m doing, but I don’t know what happened. Sometimes I just feel fine. Sometimes, it’s scary, too.

Were you part of the Dempsey Challenge before? We walked the 5K.

You’ve helped raise more than $30,000. Why do you want to help people who have cancer? It’s just a really good feeling to know you’re helping someone.

When people at events ask about your cancer, what do you tell them? It was hard and not fun. 

What does it mean to you to get this award? It feels really special and great.

How do you think your life might have been different if you hadn’t gotten cancer? It would have been easier and less stressful.

What did you do for fun when you were trying to get well? I tried to just be a normal kid like everyone else. I played field hockey and went camping with my grandparents. My parents would take me out for picnics by the ocean and I love to swim so I did that a lot too. But my favorite thing was when my parents got me a puppy. Her name is Sophie and she is now 6. Sophie can always make me feel better.

What do you do for fun now that you’re feeling better? Well, I have grown up a lot since then, but I still love to swim and play with Sophie and my other dog, Duncan. I love art and music, so once a week I go to a painting class and I also take piano lessons.

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