Four years ago, Ethan just 13, was just another kid baseball player with the dream of being a doctor. Since his diagnosis with stage 4 neuroblastoma, he has become an involuntary hero who has demonstrated to his family, friends and community incredible courage and shares a message of hope greater than this terminal disease.
Ethan’s mom, Rachel Hallmark, said, “With the current treatment options our son’s disease is not curable. Its complex genes are just too smart for us at this point. Our son is slipping from our grips. We’re trying to get him to 14. We’re trying to give him the best quality of life possible. Each day without pain is a gift, and we’re trying to give him many more of those.”
The Hallmarks and their small hometown of Midlothian have forged a deep bond, sharing equal measures of despair and optimism in an extraordinary relationship of mutual encouragement.
“Obviously I want to beat this disease,” said Ethan. “But I’m not going to be that sad if I don’t. I mean, Heaven is not a pretty good place, Heaven is a perfect place. Of course I want to live a long life, who doesn’t? I want to watch my sister and brothers go to middle school with me. Go to high school. Watch them graduate. Even I want to graduate. It’s not my plan though. It’s His plan. And His plan is perfect. So really in the end, I will win either way.”
While speaking to a church congregation during an interview by a pastor last year about his many treatments, tumour discoveries, and setbacks, Ethan said, “Through all that, God has truly protected my heart from any bitterness. He’s been with us through this the whole time. He walks with us every single day.”
“We don’t want to waste this cancer,” said Ethan’s dad, Matt Hallmark. “I mean, he has it. And there’s absolutely nothing this world can do to take it away. So the question is, ‘What are you going to do with it?’ So we choose to make the most out of every day and making the most out of every day is enjoying what days God gives.”