On July 12th, 2016, I was boarding a flight with my NPF team (The Dallas Charge) when I checked my phone right before takeoff. I looked down to find a Facebook message from an old teammate of mine’s mom who lives down in Indianapolis, IN. I thought in my head “What in the world could she messaging me for? I haven’t talked to her since Jenna and I went off to college 4+ years ago!”
She wanted to see if I could help her with a project for one of her students. It wasn’t just any project. It was one that you would want to put your life on hold to help with because it was that important. One of her students, Halle Guilliam, had recently found a brain tumor the size of a golfball and she was about to start chemotherapy within the next couple of weeks. She was reaching out to see if I could send her some signed pictures from some of my teammates to help her through this tough journey. Halle loved softball with her whole heart. Her older sister was even leaving in two years to play collegiately, and it was Halle’s dream to follow in her big sister’s footsteps. After reading this heartbreaking message, my mind went into overdrive. I spent the entire flight brainstorming. Could I send her signed pictures, ABSOLUTELY! …but that’s the absolute LEAST I could do. I wanted to do more. I needed to do more. This girl has the potential to be an Olympian one day…and I am going to do whatever it takes to help her get through this.
I reached out to my GM asking for any and every piece of memorabilia I could get my hands on. I went to the closest CVS to print off pictures of my teammates and had them each write an inspirational message to her helping encourage her through her battle. I even had the guts to request getting air time on CBS Sports Network to give Halle a shoutout during one of our televised games that season. I found out later that Halle’s parents completely surprised her, and as they were watching the Dallas Charge on their hospital TV, her story was beautifully shared with the world, and I can only imagine her reaction when she found out SHE was the star on the TV!
One year after this moment, I was working my first weekend of The Packaged Deal clinics in Fishers, IN. During the clinic, I was posting on my Instagram Story that I was down in Indy and I got a direct message from Halle herself asking if I was at Fisher’s Sports Academy! With a huge grin I responded “YES!” She responded saying she lived nearby and would love to stop by at the end and meet me.
My heart started pounding beyond belief. I was about to meet THE HALLE GUILLIAM! The girl I’ve been waiting anxiously to meet was actually about to be standing in front of me within the next couple of hours! Kid you not, the whole rest of the clinic felt like a blur and as soon as I saw this beautiful girl, I fan-girled – HARD! I couldn’t stop the tears running down my face like a waterfall. I wanted to hug her so hard, but her chemo had taken most of her muscle away. After noticing her fragility, I gave her the most gentle hug and she handed me something. It was a bracelet. On it had the hashtag #HalleStrong along with the Super(wo)man logo and the words “Strength-Faith-Family” across it. I didn’t have to know much about her to know she emulated each of these words to an absolute “T” every day she lived her life. Looking at her dad’s most recent Facebook post, I saw that Halle had some of the hardest weeks of her life right before she met me. Her energy was so low, her complexion was similar to a cloud on a gloomy day, but you know what she did have? – The most beautiful smile I had ever seen in my entire life. Even though her body was telling her that entire time to lay down and rest, there was no resting for this girl. Her STRENGTH got her up that day to come meet someone she barely knew. Her FAITH got her past two of the toughest weeks of her life, and this meeting me was the light at the end of that tunnel. Her FAMILY granted her one request that day, and it was making sure she got to Fishers Sports Academy, pronto!
This was one of the best days of my life, without a doubt. I came to this TPD clinic to inspire young softball athletes, and who would’ve thought I would be the one walking out of there more inspired to make an impact on young athletes? I knew what my mission had to be after that day. It was to make a positive impact on every single human I come into contact with, and I currently do it by coaching softball players and helping them achieve any goal they set out to do in life.
Thankfully, because of God’s sincere grace, on September 7th, 2017, her dad announced on the #HalleStrong Facebook group, that Halle had officially BEATEN CANCER!
I’ve never struggled more in my career than I did those two summers playing in the NPF. Not until I met Halle did I understand that my struggle was nothing compared to hers. Halle’s battle was a million times harder than mine. Would I take those two seasons back for a second? Absolutely not! They led me to Halle, one of the strongest humans I know, and for that I will forever be grateful.
Halle, the Lord brought you into my life at the perfect time. You will forever be my inspiration. I will and always will be #HalleStrong.