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Ambassador of Joy

I'm Alexa, and this is my story

Hallie Bea Barnard is the definition of a fighter who has overcome many obstacles.

She was first diagnosed with Diamond-Blackfan Anemia (DBA), a rare bone marrow failure, when she was 15 months old. After years of no bone marrow matches, Hallie finally received a match in 2019 and the bone marrow transplant essentially cured her of DBA.

Yet, 125 days after her transplant, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

Hallie's treatment at Cook Children's Medical Center consisted of chemotherapy and a rotationplasty amputation, a surgical procedure that occurs near the knee. She completed her treatment in January 2020 and hopes to be fitted for a prosthesis soon. She is also looking forward to attending physical therapy to learn how to walk again.

Despite what she has been through, Hallie is dedicated to helping others through her foundation, Hallie's Heroes. Cook Children's has been a recipient of the foundation's generosity, with Hallie's Heroes donating a total of $30,000 to Cook Children's Hematology and Oncology research programs as of Fall of 2020.

Hallie's mom, Elyse, said that the charity empowers their entire family to keep moving forward. It's also been encouraging for them to support other families affected by DBA.

"We didn't start the charity right away. It took a while because our family was grieving the diagnosis and the loss of Hallie's childhood,” Elyse said. “At some point, you pick yourself up and say ‘we've got to do better.’ That's been our mantra. We've got to do more for families like ours."

Hallie is known for her can-do attitude and joyful personality. She also has a "job" on the Cook Children's cancer floor. She is the ambassador of joy and promoter of hope. In her role, she helps other kids feel at home during their stay at the medical center. Hallie shared that if a new patient arrives, she tries to befriend them. She understands what it's like to stay at the medical center for long periods of time, and she wants other patients to know that they don't have to fight their battle alone.

With her positive personality, Hallie's future looks nothing but bright. In fact, she already knows what she'll need to do to take her career to the next level.

"I'm definitely going to work in the medical world,” Hallie said. "I'm going to study really hard to become a nurse and come back to Cook Children's to help kids like me."

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Your generosity does not go unnoticed by others. It is emulated by those who realize its value to the community. It is revered by those who care for our patients because it enables them to do what they do best. And it is appreciated by every patient and every family who benefits from it.

Thank you from each family, patient, nurse, physician and staff member whose life you will have touched with your generosity.