Corey Haddon and Amanda Wall never met, but their deaths brought their stories together.
Both attended East Carolina University after high school. Both dreamed of starting careers and families. And both fought against a grim diagnosis of melanoma that cut those dreams short.
Haddon died Oct. 26, 2008. She was 26. Wall died two years later, on April 15, 2010. She was 28.
That year, Coreys mother, Diane Haddon, recognized a familiar face at a grief support group. She didnt know who Rebecca Jones was, but she remembered seeing her and a stunning young woman at a doctors office at Duke before Coreys death.
As it turned out, Haddon and Jones had both taken their daughters to an appointment on the same day. Haddon remembered, years later.
Coreys and Amandas parents quickly realized their daughters led similar lives. They decided to join together to host a memorial walk in their honor. The second annual event is Saturday in Apex and will raise money for the Melanoma Research Foundation.
The walk is about remembering their children who died too young. But its also about finding common ground for the Haddon and Jones families.
Until you go through losing a child, you can never say, I know how you feel, because you dont, said Amandas stepfather, Don Jones, 61. It is good to talk to somebody.Coreys story
Corey Haddon moved to Cary from Upstate New York with her family for her senior year of high school.
She hadnt grown up with her new classmates at Athens Drive High, but Haddon quickly found her niche, excelling in soccer and basketball and art classes.
At ECU, she hoped her art degrees would lead to a career as an art teacher.
In 2005, the year she graduated college, doctors removed a cancerous mole from Coreys back. But she quickly moved forward with her life, cancer-free. She moved around for her fiances job and began to plan her wedding.
Then she found a lump under her arm in January 2008.
The following months were filled with surgeries and once-a-day Interferon treatments, in which she spend two hours at the doctors office while medicine entered her veins in an attempt to kill the cancer.
Corey worked three jobs to pay the medical bills, said Diane Haddon, 54. But she always maintained a good outlook.
It was more positive than mine ever would have been, she said.
Coreys six-year relationship ended, and she moved back to North Carolina.
She found a lump under her other arm, and she underwent more treatments. But the cancer had spread.
In August 2008, doctors said Corey had two months left to live, said her father, Chap Haddon, 57.
Corey said, Im going to beat that, he said.
And she did, by a few weeks. Ten months after the cancer returned, she was gone. Amandas story
Amanda Wall found a strange lump on her head and figured shed get it checked out.
The lump was nothing serious, but a mole next to it turned out to be melanoma.
Amanda, who graduated from Broughton High School in 1999 and studied marketing communications at ECU, embarked on a four-year battle.
There were months of Interferon and Interleukin treatments that left her sick and weak. There were surgeries in which doctors cut out pieces of her scalp.
Eventually, Amanda was referred to the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Md., for more treatments. They didnt work.
Amanda maintained her job as a marketing manager for a Cary construction firm during her fight with cancer. And she fell in love, one month after she was diagnosed. He stuck with her until the end.
Many of her friends never even knew she was sick, Don Jones said. She put this exterior on that nothing was wrong.
Amanda wore wigs and hair pieces. She dreamed of having three children, her mother said. Amanda hadnt enjoyed growing up as a single child.
She had the most warm heart, Rebecca Jones said. Children were drawn to her.
Since Amandas death, her parents have moved to Holly Springs. Too many memories existed in their North Raleigh neighborhood, her mother said.Walking in their memory
Last year, the first Amanda Wall-Corey Haddon Memorial Walk raised more than $28,000, exceeding the $10,000 goal.
This years goal is $15,000, but Rebecca Jones said she hopes to raise more.
I know Amanda would want us to help other people, she said.
The families will never know if Amanda and Corey would have been friends had they met.
They both loved the beach, Rebecca Jones said.
But they were also different in many ways, Coreys mother said. Coreys passion was art, while Amanda had an easy way with children.
For one day a year, though, their memories come together.
The walk is kind of a really good way to acknowledge that she had an impact, Chap Haddon said of his daughter.