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The Four

10-year-old Summer LaHaie’s legacy lives on through her family and friends

“In February of 2022, I picked her up from school. My daughter couldn’t walk. She was vomiting and she was incoherent, and her words were slurring. I couldn’t get her to the hospital fast enough. She turns and looks at me because she had to throw up. I had to pull over after picking her up for her to throw up. And she turned and looked at me and my baby was gray. I could not get her to the ER quick enough,” said Tina LaHaie, Summer’s mom.

“At nine years old Summer, LaHaie was diagnosed with DIPG, a rare type of cancer that forms in a child’s brain stem. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 300 children are diagnosed with DIPG each year, with the cure still yet to be found. News that no parent should ever have to process.

“Without treatment, Summer had 2 to 3 months. With treatment, she had 9 to 12. It’s the worst feeling in the world. All I did for the 15th and a half month that she fought this was research. I found a treatment; time was not on our side. My baby lost her battle,” LaHaie said.

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On May 18th of 2023, at just ten years old, Summer passed away from this deadly disease. But today, her family and friends are doing everything they can to spread awareness about DIPG to continue the research for a cure and to keep the vibrant memories of Summer alive. One of Summer’s, dearest friends decided to do something pretty incredible in her honor.

“I donated my hair, and I didn’t really care what the style was, how it looked like. If I was going to get bullied, I wouldn’t care in the world. I would just be happy for Summer and for the one that’s getting my hair,” said Halle Dorman.

The story of how Haley and Summer met, sums up the person and friend that Summer was.

“Me and Summer were the best of friends. Two peas in a pod and the one thing that we had in common was we both loved art. The first time we met was in a lunch cafeteria. I couldn’t find a spot and she said, Halle, you could sit by me. And I looked and I was just so happy because I was sort of embarrassed that I couldn’t find a spot. No one would let me sit with them except for Summer. She was so nice,” said Halle.

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All on her own. Halle decided to donate ten and a half inches of her hair to Sparrow’s Children’s Center Hair-A-Thon in honor of her best friend Summer, even adding teal highlights, Summer’s signature. An incredibly selfless act at just 11 years old.

“I just hope that if a kid, is listening to this and they become a scientist, I just hope they become like a cancer scientist so they could find out how to cure this type of cancer,” Halle said.

“I’m just so grateful to have Halle in my life. Who wants to continue to be a part of my life,” said LaHaie.

Summer will be remembered as a kind and loving young girl who loved art, especially Anime, swimming, riding her dirt bike, playing miraculous ladybug & roblox, And more than anything, she loved her family and friends.

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“We need - these babies deserve a chance at life. No child deserves the death sentence, and that’s what they’re given because there is no survival rate, none,” said LaHaie.

To help support the research for DIPG for a cure, to save the lives of the hundreds of children diagnosed with this vicious disease yearly, you can donate here.

If you are unable to donate, please consider sharing the information to raise more awareness.

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