An 11-year-old girl who overcame a rare bone marrow disorder is now battling bone cancer.
Hallie Barnard, of Denton, Texas, was born with Diamond-Blackfan Anemia, which occurs when the bone marrow does not produce enough red blood cells, which decreases the amount of oxygen flowing through the body. .
The only cure is a bone marrow transplant and, after about nine years of research, a match has been found, according to Good Morning America.
In the midst of this battle, she and her family created Hallie's Heroes in July 2015 to help fund research on bone marrow problems and organize bone marrow collections to encourage more people to donate bone marrow. register in the register.
But in March, only four months after his transplant, a mass formed on Hallie's left leg. Doctors confirmed that it was a cancerous tumor.
In addition to chemotherapy, the doctors informed the Barnard that Hallie's leg bone was weak and was at risk of breaking. Last month, his leg was amputated above the site of the tumor.
Despite his medical problems, Hallie continues to help the nonprofit organization, reaching out to thousands of people to sign up for the bone marrow registry and raise money to help families with diabetes. children fighting cancer.
Hallie Barnard, 11 years old (left and right), of Denton, Texas, was born with Blackfan anemia and was diagnosed at the age of 15 months. DBA is a disease in which the bone marrow does not produce enough red blood cells.
DBA is so rare that only 30 children are diagnosed each year in the United States and Canada, and the only cure is a bone marrow transplant. In the photo: Hallie (far left) with his parents and siblings
When Hallie was a newborn, his parents said that they knew pretty quickly that something was wrong, according to a publication on Facebook.
She did not gain weight quickly, colds persisted for more than a month and she did not sleep often.
At the age of one year, she was tested for anemia on her balance sheet, which turned out to be positive.
At 15 months she was finally diagnosed with Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA).
DBA is a disease in which the bone marrow can not produce enough red blood cells to meet the needs of the body.
This is important because red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. A lack of oxygen was at the origin of Hallie's symptoms.
The disease is caused by mutations in one of the genes, which provide instructions for making protein
According to Stanford Children & # 39; s Health, it is so rare that only 30 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States and Canada.
Treatments include corticosteroids for the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells and a blood transfusion to replace the blood cells.
However, the only cure for DBA is a bone marrow transplant.
After years of searching for a donor, Hallie (pictured) received a bone marrow transplant in November 2018.
Hallie (left and right, with a friend) started having trouble walking in January 2019 and a tumor was found in his left leg in March. He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer
Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside the bones where the blood cells are made.
Grafts involve taking the donor's healthy hematopoietic cells and introducing them into the patient's bloodstream, where they begin to develop and form red blood cells, white blood cells and healthy platelets.
According to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 70% of patients requiring bone marrow transplants do not have an identical donor in their family, including Hallie.
Her parents created Hallie & # 39; s Heroes, a non-profit association, to raise awareness of the DBA, raise funds for research, and find a bone marrow transplant.
After years of searching for a donor, the family finally found a match and underwent a transplant in November 2018.
But new health problems quickly appeared.
Hallie started having trouble walking in January of this year. Then, in March, a mass was found on his left leg, reported Good Morning America.
The tests showed that it was a tumor and Hallie had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. This happens when the cells that form the new bone form a cancerous tumor.
Most tumors usually develop around the knee, either in the lower part of the femur or in the upper part of the tibia.
DBA patients have a higher risk of developing osteosarcoma, but nothing explains why. Pictured: Hallie, right, with Fort Worth Constable Brandi Kamper
The doctors started chemotherapy with Hallie (left and right, with her father) and told her parents that she was at risk of fracturing a bone if she was practicing physical activity. Last month, the left leg was amputated during a 13-hour surgery at the site of the tumor.
According to the National Cancer Institute, DBA patients have a higher risk of developing cancer, especially leukemia and osteosarcoma, but nothing explains why.
"I had the impression of starting all over again," said Hallie's mother, Elyse Barnard, about the diagnosis.
"It was worse than his initial diagnosis … Hallie was a champion for all that. She said: "I have the impression that God has given me cancer because there are other children I have to help".
The doctors started chemotherapy at Hallie and last month they told her parents that she could fracture a bone if she was doing physical activity.
The left leg was amputated during a 13-hour surgery at the tumor site.
She told them, "Just cut the wire," Barnard told Good Morning America.
"There is a part of her who is grieving, but she has taken it better than anyone – when we talked to her about cancer and amputation."
Since Hallie's diagnosis, Hallie & # 39; s Heroes' mission now consists of helping families cover medical expenses related to childhood cancer.
A friend from the Barnard family has created a GoFundMe page to cover the costs of Hallie's treatments.
Thursday afternoon, a goal of $ 100,000 raised more than $ 44,200.