Year in Review 2011: East Ridge, Woodbury honor Ann Haering
In February of 2011 a pair of hockey games were played with more meaning and also put into perspective as team members, coaches and families were shaken by the struggles of their friend Ann Haering, an East Ridge senior who was gravely ill after a four-year bout with leukemia.
The girls hockey game between friends and rivals on East Ridge and Woodbury and the East Ridge boys hockey team's win over Forest Lake were both dedicated to Haering.
The girls on both the East Ridge and Woodbury teams taped their sticks, socks and helmets in orange tape -- which is the color of Ann's ribbon -- and the teams created a photo board with pictures of Ann, made and gave away ribbons for fans and took donations for the Haering family. Prior to the game, members from the teams spoke about Ann and her fight with leukemia.
The East Ridge boys hockey team also dedicated its 2-0 win over Forest Lake -- to Haering and a number of the Raptors' boys shaved their heads in support of Haering.
Just weeks after the games, however, Haering, 18, passed away at her Woodbury home on Feb. 20.
Haering had been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia since being originally diagnosed with the disease as an eighth-grader at Lake Middle School on Feb. 6, 2007. After nearly 2 1/2 years of chemotherapy, Haering was in remission and able to return to a typical high school life as a junior at East Ridge. However, the remission turned out to be temporary and on April 28, 2010 Haering learned the leukemia had returned and she needed to begin chemotherapy again. On Aug. 9, 2010, Haering underwent a blood/bone marrow transplant at the University of Minnesota Medical Center.
On Monday, Jan. 24, 2011 Haering was admitted to the in-patient intensive-care unit at the University of Minnesota hospital with a serious blood infection, which ultimately led to her passing.
However, Haering is still making a difference.
Following her death, roughly 100 area residents took part in the second-annual East Ridge High School Ann Haering Foundation golf tournament, with a significant portion of the proceeds going toward Children's Lighthouse of Minnesota -- a program hoping to raise $8 million to open the state's first children's hospice home in the next three to five years.