From trash haulers to firefighters, 6-year-old Carson Hall left many friends

By Kathy Hanks
Hutchinson News – Feb. 14, 2018

Carson Hall’s place on the couch is empty now.

His father Matthew Hall sits on the middle cushion as if his child is still beside him. The iPad which helped entertain the 6-year-old as he lost his ability to walk, use his arms and talk is close by.

Carson, or Fire Chief Carson as he was known by the firefighters at the Hutchinson Fire Department, died Saturday at Hospice House from complications involved with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a form of brain cancer

“It seems like he is just at Nana’s,” said his mother Lindsey.“It hasn’t sunk in yet that it’s forever.”

Carson began kindergarten at Morgan Elementary School, in August. He loved school, according to his parents. However, he lost his ability to walk by mid-November and they knew his cancer was progressing. Lindsey wanted her son at home with his younger brother Colton and the rest of his family. She knew their time was limited.

Back in 2016 Matt and Lindsey noticed the demeanor of their healthy son was changing. He was experiencing balance issues and began crying when he was left at daycare.

“I could look in his eyes and tell something was wrong. As a mom, I could tell,” Lindsey said.

He was diagnosed on May 12, 2016, with little hope. Doctors gave Carson 9 to 12 months to live. They learned there was less than one percent survival rate with this cancer. At Children’s Mercy, the Halls were told of clinical trials their son could participate in, but that would have entailed leaving the state or even the country.

“Once you get past the shock you ask what are we going to do?′ Matt Hall said.

They decided they would make the time they had special with Carson’s extended community of family and friends. Making the best of the time they had together became their priority.

He did undergo a round of radiation. The symptoms started to disappear and he became himself again. But they knew it was temporary.

“Our life from the time he was diagnosed was making memories,” said Lindsey. They sailed on three Disney cruises, including one through “Make a Wish Foundation.”

However, special memories happened right in his own community.

During the past two Kansas State Fair’s, Carson had free reign to ride the train and the yellow slide to his heart’s desire.

His parents have several concessions and grandparents Mike and Sandi Brackett own Brackett Concessions at the fairgrounds.

Matt and Lindsey even met and fell in love at the state fair. Their first concession was in the Prairie Pavilion. Carson had been coming to the fair since he was 9 months old.

The Hutchinson Fire Department developed a friendship with Carson. Training Chief Jesse Martin saw Lindsey Hall on TV asking people to send letters to Carson because he liked to receive mail.

“We had the mail delivered in a fire truck,” Martin said. “He took a shining to us and us to him and we made him one of our own.”

Carson was sworn in as fire chief for the day. “He touched many lives here and is part of our family at Hutchinson Fire Department,” said Fire Chief Steven Beer.

Ron King, with Stutzman’s Refuse, was Carson’s friend. It became a ritual to wait and wave to Ron every week, said Danae Wallace, a close family friend. Carson could be asleep, but if he heard King’s truck he had to be out there. Sometimes King would get out of the truck and talk to Carson. He brought him a toy trash truck and little blue dumpster.

When his motor skills began deteriorating for the second time the Hall’s opted for a second round of radiation and Carson responded. All summer he was running, jumping, and swimming doing all the things a 5-year-old does.

Carson survived 21 months with cancer. From the beginning, the Halls always believed the quality of Carson’s life was more important than the quantity.

The most difficult thing they did was to drive their son to Hospice House, knowing he would never return. But they found comfort in knowing their memories of Carson would not lead back to his death at home.

Instead, they have the memories of their son whose smile lit up his eyes.

“You could cover up everything but his eyes and you would know that he was smiling,” Lindsey said.

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
http://www.ksffa.com
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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