Portland mother turns tragic loss into giving project


When Lenore Thawley lost her 3-year-old son Hunter Zen to leukemia, she said it was the darkest moment of her life.

“They told us we would have six months. We had three weeks. It took him that quickly.”

But from the depths of her grief came a new mission – to help children suffering from cancer.

Thawley and her husband Todd founded The Healing Hunter Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to donating gifts to young cancer patients.

“It originally started his first birthday after we lost him,” said Thawley. “I knew if we did something that day to somewhat celebrate him instead of mourn him, it gives love in all sorts of ways.”

The Thawleys raised funds to donate IPads and other gifts to patients at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

The first year they donated 22 IPads and each year those numbers have increased.

In 2016, The Healing Hunter Foundation gave over 100 IPads to child cancer patients in Oregon, Washington and California.

Thawley believes a little fun and distraction can make all the difference for a child fighting a crippling disease. This was the case with her son Hunter.

“This one little car got him through so many procedures and so many times where he just had to hold onto something, and this was his guy,” she said. “And so I thought, we need to do that. We need to deliver things that help them, that bring them smiles, that make them feel like kids again.”

Thawley’s actions made her a perfect candidate for this month’s FOX 12 and Les Schwab Tire Centers Be The Change Award, an award that puts the spotlight on those who make a difference in their community.

For some many families, Thawley said, the smallest amount of joy is welcomed.

“It makes a difference. If I can do that and add a little sweetness to what’s going on, then that helps me.”

Thawley will hold a special festival at Hoffman Farms Store June 3 to help raise money for the Healing Hunter Foundation.

Visit HealingHunterFoundation.Blogspot.com to learn more.

If you think you know someone who makes a difference and can 'Be the Change' in their community, nominate them at the FOX 12 Be the Change website.

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