Perseverance, grit, bravery, devotion... Viva Babe Elyse is a hero and role model to not only her daughter Hallie, but so many of us!
When her daughter was only 18 months old, Elyse found out Hallie had an extremely rare bone marrow failure called Diamond Black Fan anemia. This meant she needed a bone marrow transplant in order to live. Bone marrow transplants are different from blood transplants - finding your match is more complicated and often family members aren't able to be the donor. Elyse and her husband quickly were tested, but neither were a match. Elyse sprung into action, forming an organization called Hallies Heroes.
Over 9 years, they searched for Hallie's match. Elyse quit her job and devoted all of her time to taking Hallie to every doctor's appointment and finding people willing to register with Be The Match, which connects possible donors to their matched patients. Along the way, they found 105 matches for other children.
For months in the hospital or in physical therapy centers, Elyse not only cared for Hallie but also campaigned and managed requests and emails for other families to help them find the match for their kids. When they finally found Hallie's match, her bone marrow transfer was successful.
Shortly after her recovery from Diamond Black Fan anemia, Hallie was diagnosed with bone cancer. Hallie was straight back into the hospital for more chemo and eventually, an amputation-like surgery on her left leg called a rotationplasty. Elyse became Hallie's full-time caretaker and advocate, as well as cheerleader and non-profit director. Hallie is now cancer-free and works with her mom to raise money for Children's Cancer Research.
Her nominator Brandi says "this woman does nothing for herself, ever. Every dollar or opportunity she passes on to other people. I don't know anyone less selfish, or with more inner strength than her. She has lived her life serving others while painfully waiting on the kindness and bravery of other people to register for the bone marrow registry to save her daughter."
Thank you, Elyse, for everything you do to make this world better. Your advocacy is priceless and inspirational!