We all have those special moments that we dream about, often for years. The day we purchase our first home, the day our first child is born, and the day we get married. Many of us want our loved ones to be with us on those special days. When it looks like they can’t be, you may have to improvise. That is exactly what two young girls from Texas decided to do when they found out that their father had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
Kaylee Halbert, 19, was in school one day last April when her mother sent her a text, asking her to get home as soon as she could. Her and her sister Ashlee, 16, met up with the family in their living room that day to discuss the tragic news her parents had learned. Their father, Jason Halbert, had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
Jason had gone to the doctors back in March after experiencing balance issues, slurred speech, and blurred vision. A neurologist found a mass in his brain stem during an MRI, which turned out to be inoperable. However, the family encouraged him to do what he could to fight it. Jason began radiation for a period of six weeks in July, as well as a chemotherapy drug. While he did well at first, he began having severe headaches after undergoing a new round of chemotherapy treatment. Unfortunately, the cancer spread and the family was given the devastating news- Jason only had a few weeks to live.
Nicole Halbert, Jason’s wife, sat down to talk to the kids about what they could do in that short period of time. The young girls talked to her about how they had always dreamed of having their father walk them down the aisle. Plus, what could be more important than the father-daughter dance at the reception? Instead of giving up on the wedding idea, the girls decided to “pre-create” the event. They wanted to recreate the special moment, even if they weren’t actually getting married at the time.
Nicole reached out via social media to her community with the idea. Soon, tons of support came pouring in from all over. The family booked a wedding venue for the event, and they were also able to have a videographer and photographer there to capture every last memory. When October 14th rolled around, the two girls were able to dance with their father at the best wedding ceremony they could have at the time. The daughters were given two videos. The first is the actual dance with their father. The second is a private interview with Jason that is to be shared when he passes.
The Halberts have expressed how grateful they are over the amazing feedback from the community. The girls were allowed to choose from a variety of dresses that others donated while their old elementary school teacher put together their bouquets. The family hopes that they have inspired others to try to “pre-create” memories if they are ever faced with the same decision.