Seventeen-year-old basketball, football and track star Wade Halterman is from Wink, Texas. His life was turned upside down after his little sister Carson came down with a devastating illness. But nothing could prepare him for what followed, as his girlfriend then received some terrible news of her own.
In the spring of 2016 Wade’s 12-year-old sister Carson began having stomach problems. Tentative diagnoses such as constipation and appendicitis followed, but the young girl’s health issues continued. Finally, later that year, doctors figured out what was causing her pain.
Carson was diagnosed with pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis and adrenal insufficiency, a rare hormonal condition which causes muscle weakness and fatigue. The news shocked Wade, who had a lot of questions. In an interview with CBS 7, he asked, “What can we do to fix this? How did this happen? Why didn’t we find it sooner?”
Wade was a rock, giving his little sister all the support she needed as she battled her illness. “For him as a brother, not to be able to fix any of this for her, or take any of it, I think […] that bothers him. And I know it does,” his mom Courtney Orr told the broadcaster.
During one of his track finals, Wade found the perfect way to both honor his sibling and raise awareness of her condition. Before the race he took a pen and wrote CH/CF – Carson Halterman over cystic fibrosis – on his sports shoes. He went on to win the race. And from then on, Wade made sure the initials were always emblazoned on his trainers when he competed.
An uphill struggle followed for Carson. Since falling ill in the spring of 2016, she has had 18 procedures, including a dozen on her pancreas. Indeed, the hospital has become a familiar site for the young girl. “It’s our second home now. The staff is family,” mom Courtney wrote in a blog post on the website Love What Matters.
Refusing to let Carson’s suffering stop him, Wade meanwhile continued to shine in sports. He began making a name for himself in the state of Texas. “He told me that his little sister has limitations and he has none, when he’s tired and wants to quit he thinks of her,” his mom wrote on Love What Matters. “He performs for the both of them.”
Meanwhile, Wade was also dating a popular cheerleader named Kylie Creech. Mom Courtney wrote, “She is the lovely cheerleader, All-District volleyball player, basketball gamer, and plays tennis. They are a sensational couple.”
But in May 2018 disaster struck again. Wade’s girlfriend Kylie had undertaken some tests and something odd had shown up. At that stage nobody knew what was coming, but Wade was scared.
Courtney said all Kylie knew that day was something was off and she had to go to hospital for further examination. But she said her son sensed it was more sinister. “I saw the fear in his eyes. He knew. His heart knew. His girl wasn’t okay,” she wrote in her blog post on Love What Matters.
Soon afterwards, Kylie’s mom Penny called Courtney and told her the devastating news. Her daughter had leukemia. Courtney broke it to Wade, and held him as he sobbed. He was once again full of questions. Would he lose his girlfriend? Would she lose her hair?
It dawned on Wade that now his girlfriend as well as his sister was very ill. Two of the closest people to him were facing huge battles. “Both [of] his beautiful girls were in the fight of their lives,” Courtney wrote.
But rather than sending Wade spiraling downwards, Kylie’s illness spurred him into action. She told him she wouldn’t be able to make the couple’s prom date, which was coming up the following week. But this being Wade, he came up with a plan. He would take prom to her.
“Nothing can stop a total of two moms, four aunts and four sisters when they decide to throw a prom in five days,” Courtney said. Wade threw the party at Kylie’s aunt’s house, and they went all-out to make it look special. Fairy lights were strung from the ceiling and a sign at the door read “VIP entrance.”
A catering company provided delicious food for Wade and Kylie to snack on, and the latter’s sister provided musical entertainment. “It was the most perfect day,” Courtney wrote. “Prom 2018 was epic. Kylie and Wade were prom queen and king.”
In an interview with CBS7 in October 2018, Wade and Courtney gave an update on the progress of two of their favorite girls. Doctors say Kylie is making “tremendous progress.” She has not returned to her cheerleading squad but is well enough to cheer her man on from the sidelines. Courtney said, “Leukemia doesn’t own her. She’s shown who the real warrior is.”
Meanwhile, Wade’s sister Carson is continuing to fight. She is stronger than ever, according to Courtney. Her pancreas is still causing problems but her family and doctors are working together to do the best they can for the youngster.
While both families have been rocked by the cruel hands they have been dealt, there have been blessings along the way. Wade and Kylie’s relatives have become close, walking with each other through the highs and lows. “Two families became one family,” Courtney wrote.
Courtney used her blog post on Love What Matters to praise her son Wade. “[He] remains a rock that holds up his little sister and his best girl. He says they are his strength, and the girls say he is theirs,” she wrote. “[Wade took] what Carson can’t do, what has sidelined Kylie, and used it to propel him.”
“Some see so much heartache,” Courtney continued. “We see faith being restored in humanity, a community rallying behind two girls fighting huge battles […] and a young man teaching all of us how to see the beauty that is all around.”