CLEVELAND — With a shopping bag in hand, 13-year-old Halle Lint strolled the aisles at the I-X Christmas Connection Friday morning, picking up crafts and gifts. While the shopping spree fell one day before her 14th birthday, it was also meant to mark something bigger – her battle with cancer.
In April of 2019, Halle was diagnosed with leukemia. Halle’s mother, Lisa, noticed her daughter had been a bit tired and pale, but figured it was just the dreary spring weather. After a blood test and an appointment at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s, the family received a diagnosis they never expected.
“One of the doctors came and knocked on the door and said can I speak to one of the parents? I stepped out and they said it was leukemia,” she said. “That’s not what we were expecting.”
Halle began treatment, a process that had its ups and downs.
“The best part was definitely all the nice people and my nurses,” she said. “The worst part was probably in the beginning- all the needles because I wasn’t used to it. And the bone marrow biopsies, those were the worst.”
Now, Halle is in remission, she finished chemo in August.
Halle’s mom believes it was one of their doctors or nurses who gave Halle’s name to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes for children with critical illnesses. While Halle dreamed of a trip to Iceland, the COVID-19 pandemic put that wish on hold. On Friday, Halle was treated to a day of shopping by Make-A-Wish.
“It’s really really fun because I’ve been waiting for this for almost three years,” Halle said. “It’s just really nice to have people who are like, ‘hey, you did it, here’s a present!’ That’s really fun.”
Halle went shopping at Christmas Connection, then was driven to SouthPark Mall where she got a makeover and continued shopping.
“It makes me feel so loved and appreciated,” she said.
The day of pampering was a long time coming, according to Halle’s mom.
“Lots of days just wondering if you were going to make it to the next day. We just took it one second, one minute, one day at a time,” Lint said. “It’s been a long, slow journey, but we’re here. We’re here.”
Now, Halle is sharing a message for other kids who are going through their own battles with cancer.
“It’s is going to be really hard, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
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Editor's note: The video in the player above is from a previously published, unrelated story.