It was a night to remember. Dancers of all ages from Limelight Dance Studio in Payson took to the stage at Payson High School on Dec. 14 to showcase their talents. From ballet to jazz; hip-hop to contemporary; cheerleading and even a “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” rendition, the night was filled with performances receiving resounding applause.
But this night wasn’t just about dancers getting a chance to perform on stage. Rather, it was a night to use their talents for a cause — to help a little girl in need. That girl is 2-year-old Hallie Harward, who on Oct. 1, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer.
The holiday recital was part of the studio’s annual “Talent with a Cause” fundraiser, that the studio director, Natasha Baker, has held for the past few years. Between ticket sales, a bake sale and silent auction, the studio was able to raise a record $7,000 for its young beneficiary.
According to Hallie’s mom, Camille Harward, it was a night to remember, and one her family will forever be grateful for after a very challenging few months.
“I found a lump in Hallie’s tummy one morning in late September,” Harward said. “I took her to our family doctor in Moab and they did an ultrasound and found that it was a large tumor with a lot of blood flow around it, but was most likely malignant. I rushed her up to Primary Children’s Hospital, and on Oct. 1, she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer.”
Upon further investigation by doctors, it was found that the tumor was wrapped around several organs, pushing on Hallie’s kidney causing high blood pressure. Doctors were optimistic, placing her at intermediate risk, needing only a few rounds of chemo to shrink the tumor and remove it. A few weeks later, however, the biopsy results found little Hallie to be at high risk stage 3, requiring much more extensive treatment. The toddler will require intense chemo, bone marrow collection (to give back to her later), removal of the tumor, then high dose chemo, a bone marrow transplant, radiation and antibody therapy.
Harward says that despite already undergoing three cycles of chemo and bone marrow collection, Hallie is handling it fairly well.
“For the most part Hallie tolerates everything pretty well and bounces back so resiliently every round,” Harward said. “She has had to stay quite a few nights in between chemo in the hospital because of fevers and needing blood transfusions. Our family made the decision to move to Utah County to be closer to Primary Children’s and family. It’s affected our kids pretty heavily, but they have adjusted really well.”
Harward said that being beneficiaries of the “Talent with a Cause” fundraiser has been a wonderful blessing for their family.
“We were so overwhelmed with the love and generosity that everyone showed us,” Harward said. “We will never forget this beautiful night. Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude for this generous gift. I hope the studio realizes the heavy load it has taken off our shoulders so that we can focus more clearly on Hallie’s healing, precious life and every moment. ... The dancers did amazing. We loved every performance and could feel the love they had for Hallie. We are forever grateful for this gift.”
Moving forward, Harward said she hopes her family will somehow be able to share the same love others have shown their daughter.
“Our hope is that when we are on the other side of this journey with Hallie, we will be able to give back in ways that others have shown us,” she said. “We couldn’t ask for anything more than to be able to give to someone else going through a tough time. These kinds of experiences change you. We will never forget it.”