Community gathers to help a family in need
Matt Olson, Copy Editor
This Saturday, Dallas’s Union Coffee Run Club will host Hallie’s Heroes 5K in Denton. The fun run will begin at 9 a.m. at Ryan Elementary School, and participants will pay $25. Proceeds from the event will go to Hallie’s Heroes.
Hallie’s Heroes is a local organization created to help Hallie Barnard, a 7-year-old diagnosed with Diamond-Blackfan anemia, and her family. According to Genetics Home Reference, DBA “is a disorder of the bone marrow” in which the bone marrow does not produce as many red blood cells as the body requires.
Hallie’s mother, Elyse, explained the organization’s origins: “It started with phone calls. I got phone calls that [other] children [with DBA] passed away, so I just started calling moms in Hallie’s class. I said, ‘You don’t know me very well, but I need your help to help save my daughter’s life.’ It started as a grassroots effort and expanded beyond that.” She detailed how many local families and businesses have gotten involved, and more than 1,000 people have helped with the cause.
She continued: “[Hallie] decided one day that people who sponsored her are heroes, so we called it ‘Hallie’s Heroes.’”
Hallie’s Heroes events have included swabs to find potential matches for Hallie and other children affected by DBA. Barnard shared: “Since we’ve started, we’ve found four matches for four other families just like ours. It started with Hallie, but it’s not just about Hallie. There’s 1,400 other families waiting for a match.”
She added: “With every 100 swabs done, at least one person is a match.”
Barnard expressed gratitude for the help her daughter and her family has received from the community. She said: “‘Thank you’ would be our first thought. Really and truly, Hallie’s Heroes couldn’t be all we are without them backing us. It’s not just donations coming in or runners running. It’s families and businesses that are completely behind us that support us not just financially but also emotionally.”
She concluded: “There used to be that saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ but over the last year, we’ve found that it takes a village to save a child and find a cure.”
To sign up for the 5K, visit https://runsignup.com/Race/TX/Denton/HalliesHeroes5K#directions. On-site registration begins at 7 a.m. on the day of the race.