HOOD RIVER, Ore. (KOIN) — Heidi Hall said her daughter Lila May is spunky. “Spunky is a nice way to put it,” she said. “She’s got a lot of attitude.”
It may be that spunky attitude that has kept Lila May Schow going. She’ll turn 5 on July 31, and her mom is afraid this may be the last birthday for her.
That’s why they’re planning a big party for her.
Three years ago, Heidi got “the worst news any parent could ever hear.” Lila was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Now, the spunky little girl is battling stage 4 cancer that has returned again to her bone marrow.
“For a long time, you would never even know anything was wrong,” Heidi told KOIN 6 News. “But lately it’s kind of dwindling.”
Heidi and her husband Blake started taking Lila May to the doctor when she was 2 because bruises started to show up all over her body. They questioned the day care about what was going on.
“It turned out she was just, like, covered head-to-toe in tumors,” Heidi said.
Since that time, Lila has had 9 surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and spends “almost every day going to either the doctor or the hospital.”
“But she has a warrior spirit,” Blake Hall said. “We’ve kind of instilled in her just to keep fighting, just to get to the next stage. She battles through it all. She really does.”
Blake – her stepfather – said his friends in the Marines made her an honorary Marine. “She’s so proud of that,” he said.
Lila May has taught Blake and Heidi how to be strong, how to keep loving people.
“When we talk about cancer, she likes to say, ‘I kick cancer’s butt,’” Heidi said. “But she does. She’s very feisty and she keeps fighting.”
But she doesn’t have a lot more time.
“There’s no words to express watching your 4-year-old struggle so much and wake up every day and want to start new and watch her shows and get in her princess dresses,” Heidi said.
That’s why they’re planning a very special party and the community is invited.
The Party on July 31
The Halls are planning a party that will be part birthday, part prom, part Cinderella ball, part wedding day
“We want to make number 5 her wedding, her prom, her Prince Charming, everything she won’t get,” Heidi said.
But she admits she’s not the best at planning parties, “plus I have to take her to the doctor all the time, and if I’m not going to the hospital I’m on the phone with doctors.”
The party is set for July 31 at the Butler Building, 301 Oak Street in Hood River. But they need a special cake, twinkle lights, balloons, some catering, a DJ, activities for kids and party favors.
They are also looking for an adult Tiana dress like the one in The Princess and the Frog.
“We just want it to be a ball, Prince Charming-style,” Heidi said. “I think even if we can get daddy or somebody to propose I think she would be really excited.”
But more than anything, she just wants to see Lila happy.
“I don’t want to see her suffer anymore. So when she smiles it’s the best part of my day.”
To send cards: Lila May, PO Box 125, Hood River, Oregon 97031