By Deb Silverthorn
According to Elyse Barnard’s daughter Hallie Bea, the “I” in VIP stands for Inspiring, as GLF would have it, but also Important, Incredible and Intelligent. The 10-year-old pixie could go on and on about her mother, who has fought her disease alongside her.
“This journey means lots of questions, but God brought us here, and it’s amazing to be a part of the miracles,” said Elyse, of Hallie Bea’s Diamond-Blackfan Anemia diagnosis at 13 months. Through the family-founded Hallie’s Heroes and their partnership with DKMS, they have raised $28,000 to fund research for a cure, to educate and advocate, to host swabbing drives to identify bone marrow matches, and to provide DBA-related financial assistance.
Elyse inspires everyday, from before sunrise until late at night. The wife of Jesse and mother of Hallie Bea, Breece, 8, and Celia Jo, 5, she makes meals and medical appointments, builds relationships and budgets, coordinates errands and events. Elyse drives carpool and is always driving to find DBA’s cure. Along with her family, she spends hundreds of hours giving speeches, hosting an annual 5k run, and encouraging awareness of DBA in the community.
“Elyse doesn’t want anyone to wait for 10 years for a cure or for anyone to wait to live in good health,” said Angie Medlock, who encouraged Hallie’s Heroes founding and who serves on its board.
Elyse and her family moved to Dallas when they found that the city’s medical community was one of four in the country treating DBA. She and Jesse, whom she met during high school, left their careers—he was a Marine, now Target manager, she a foster care social worker, bank teller and stay-at-home mom—transferring their lives, hopes and hearts to Dallas where the battle continues.
A decade later Hallie Bea is still looking for her match, but Hallie’s Heroes have made 6000 swabs and 69 matches. “There are 14,000 patients waiting for a bone marrow match. We’re here and we’re empowered,” said Elyse. “Every match, every dollar of support—one little girl is pushing us to continue.”
For her relentless spirit as she fights for her daughter’s health and that of countless others, we present Elyse Barnard with our Very Inspiring Parent award.
Editor’s Note: As of this printing, Hallie has been tentatively matched with a potential bone marrow donor. We are anxiously awaiting good news and will share updates with you via goodLIFEfamilymag.com and GLF Weekly.
Our Very Inspiring Parent (VIP) Award honors the everyday, and not-so-everyday, heroes in our midst. Those whose tenacity, integrity and courage inspire others to exemplify the same character and put their families and community first, in spite of the challenges life has thrown at them. For complete details or to nominate visit goodLIFEfamilymag.com or email Tricia@goodlifefamilymag.com.