Abbeville High senior organizes fundraiser for childhood cancer
Abbeville High Principal Ivy Landry (left) and Herod Assistant Principal Tara Frick (right) present Halle Theall with a check.
There were big wins on the football field last weekend and there will be many political triumphs during elections in October.
They all pale in comparison to the victory Abbeville High senior Halle Theall claimed more than 10 years ago.
Doctors diagnosed Theall, 17, with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), childhood cancer dealing with the bone marrow and blood, on July 17, 2002. She was three years old.
“My last treatment was January 15, 2005,” Theall said. “I am in full remission and a cancer survivor.”
Theall wants every story to be like hers. To help make that happen, she organized a fundraiser at her school, where students could wear jeans after paying a $1. Herod Elemenary also joined the effort. Both schools raised more than $400. The money has been donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
“I am beyond thrilled with the amount of money we collected for this fundraiser,” Theall said. “I want to thank the AHS students, Herod students, and faculty for wearing jeans and donating to St. Jude.
“Also a big thanks to (Abbeville High Principal) Mr. Ivy (Landry) and (Herod Principal) Ms. Errin (Landry) for supporting me and making this fundraiser actually happen.”
Kay Theall, Halle’s mother, a literacy teacher at Herod, is proud of her daughter’s effort.
“I could not have been prouder of her to take the initiative to promote this fundraiser,” Kay Theall said. “When Halle spoke to me about raising money for childhood cancer research, I thought it was a good idea. However, I told her she would have to take the initiative and talk to Mr. Ivy. That is exactly what she did! She created the flyers and wrote the school’s morning announcement.”
This is not likely a one-and-done fundraiser.
“Halle is already thinking about next year,” Kay Theall said. “She would like all of the Abbeville schools to team up and support childhood cancer in the month of September.
“Maybe we can encourage all schools in Vermilion Parish to join Halle’s mission!”
Halle Theall is definitely on a mission, to spread awareness of childhood cancer. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
“I see a lot of people donating and wearing pink for breast cancer month,” Theall explained. “It makes me very irritated that not a lot of people know that September is Childhood cancer awareness month. I lost five friends in the last four months because of this horrible disease. Children have a future ahead to live.
“Be a voice for the children who can’t speak and donate money to St. Jude or any organization dealing with childhood cancer!”
Kay Theall knows how driven her daughter is on the matter.
“Childhood cancer means a lot to her because she has lived through it,” Kay Theall said. “It is hard to see a happy, lively child become sad and motionless while undergoing treatments.”
As far as Kay Theall is concerned, her daughter is the perfect person to lead the fight.
“Halle is a fighter and she overcame this dreaded disease that affects so many children, “She is a true inspiration to all that deal with cancer. I am also a survivor to breast cancer and it was Halle who inspired me to get through the treatments.
“If she could fight then I can too.”
Halle Theall had inspirations of her own. That list includes the late Talia Joy Castellano, who gained Internet fame through her Youtube channel, dedicated to makeup and fashion.
“My biggest inspiration is Talia Joy Castellano,” Theall said. “She also had childhood cancer but passed away two years ago. She was a huge role model and inspired so many people through her makeup tutorials, especially young teens with cancer .
“She helped them overcome the fear of being bald through the power of makeup.”
Castellano added fuel to Theall’s fight.
“She made me realize that only four percent of the National Cancer Institute Budget goes towards pediatric cancer research,” Theall said. “We need to do something about the funding because children are dying each and every day and it’s is definitely not okay!”