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A family and a community mourn the loss of a 10-year-old

Halle (on the right) and her best friend Abbey Lambers

For two weeks, the Spring Hill community came together in prayer and support for 10-year old Halle Henderson when a simple case of the flu suddenly became a fight for life. On April 5 the vigil changed focus to supporting a grieving family. At 10:45 a.m. Halle Henderson, the daughter of Rodney and Tammy Henderson – the little girl with a beautiful smile, lost her fight.

“Halle had a bright smile that lit up the room,” said Audra Lambers, whose daughter Abbey was best friends with Halle. “She had a sweet, quiet spirit. She was my third child. Her sweet spirit, she never had anything bad to say – she had a kind heart. She was the ideal, perfect child.”

The girls met seven years ago in preschool when they were just three years old. To 10-year olds, that may seem like a lifetime ago. For Abbey and Halle, it was.

“Ever since [they met], they have been kindred spirits,” Lambers said.

“From age three to 10, they had a wonderful bond together – something most kids don’t have. They never argued; they never even had a cross word. Abbey will always keep Halle in her heart.”

The family – Tammy, Rod and Christopher – are kind and wonderful, Lambers said.

“Tammy is like a sister to me,” she said. “Because the girls are so close, we talk every day, we go boating together, we go out to eat and hang out as families. Families mean the world to us – our kids are our life.”

A fourth grader at Allendale Elementary, Halle celebrated her 10th birthday March 18. Two days later she was diagnosed with Strain B of the flu. By Friday, she was beginning to feel better.

Halle's fourth-grade teacher sent her journal home to her parents. Her father posted this entry on Facebook. It was written March 6. She died on April 5. 

Saturday she complained her stomach hurt, she had chest pains and she was having difficulty breathing. Lambers said.

Halle was taken to a physician. When her blood pressure dropped, she was rushed by ambulance to Vanderbilt Medical Center. Sunday morning Halle went into cardiac arrest.

By then, a heart condition – myocarditis – that was caused by the flu had damaged her heart so much, she would need a heart transplant. But in order to get on the donor recipient list, her lungs and kidneys needed to recover.

By the end of the week, Halle appeared to be getting stronger so her physician team decided to insert a ventricular assist device into her lungs as a first step towards the transplant process. The surgical procedure was performed Thursday morning. As Halle’s lungs attempted their first breath, they both began to hemorrhage.

“In spite of all she went through with heart catheterizations and more, she was a fighter for 13-days,” Lambers said. “She loved her family more than anything and she loved Abbey – she fought the fight for them.”

Try as she might, Halle could fight no more.

When Halle was admitted to the hospital Lambers started the Facebook page, Praying for Precious Halle, to get information to family and friends, to keep them updated on her progress and allow them to send prayers and encouragement her way. The support Halle and her family found was astounding.

“There was such an outpouring of love,” Lambers said. “The family is beyond grateful for the support. It shocked all of us.”

Amidst all their pain, Rod and Tammy found the strength to message back the more than 7,000 people from around the world who sent prayers of support and love and words of encouragement to Halle and her family.

“We want to thank everyone for their continued prayers for Halle and our family,” Rod wrote on the Facebook page. “Halle is a very special, loving, and considerate little girl. She is just like all of you. Having her for 10 years, we understand why God wanted her. … I hope no one has to endure what we have gone thru but rest assured we will be there for you.”

The entire community of Spring Hill is a sea of red as it continues to demonstrate support for Halle and her family. School buses are adorned with red ribbons, mailboxes and trees sport red bows and signs, red cookies, and even donuts were decorated with red bows.

Facebook posts continue to send prayers, love, encouragement and hope to a grieving family, a best friend and a community.

The community is also pulling together to raise funds for the family’s fi nancial needs at this time. Donations may be made to the Halle Henderson Benefit Drive at any First Tennessee Bank in Tennessee.

Posted on: 4/11/2013


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