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Teen cancer survivor gets a Swifty’s ultimate surprise

Lyrics from Taylor Swift’s hit song “Bad Blood” include: “‘Cause baby, now we got bad blood. You know it was crazy love.” It’s a song about falling out of friendship, but to 14-year-old Haley Barnard, who was born with a rare blood disorder, the song has a much deeper meaning.

“Because I felt like it really applied to me. Because I felt, ‘Oh my God, I’m like Taylor Swift. You know, my blood is bad,'” Bernard told CBS News during an interview in his backyard in Dallas. . .

At just 15 months old, Bernard Dimon was diagnosed with Blackfin Anemia, or DBA, and spent most of his life in and out of hospital. Swifty said she relied on the singer to bring her joy. When asked to choose a favorite song, it was difficult for the teenager, who is in her freshman year of high school

The only way to survive DBA is a bone marrow transplant and Bernard was desperate for one. But he knew there were thousands more patients.

Haley Barnard received a rotation plasty surgery to remove the cancer from her leg at MD Anderson in Houston.

Haley Barnard

So, a few years ago, she decided to do something about it by creating her own foundation: Halley’s Heroes. “It started out as selfishly trying to save my life, but then we realized there were so many other children out there who needed bone marrow transplants,” he said. “So, so far we’ve swabbed over 8,000 people and we’ve found over 300 matches.”

After 9 years of waiting, Bernard got his own match through his own foundation. But as a child there were more obstacles between him and a normal life. The blood disorder led to a cancer diagnosis: osteosarcoma. MD Anderson of Houston underwent surgery to remove the cancer from his leg.

The recovery has been difficult, but Haley said she remains optimistic.

“My survival instincts just kicked in. I was trying to do whatever it took to survive. So, of course, it was scary but in my mind, I was just thinking that I wanted to be at my siblings’ future wedding. I wanted to play games and run again, ” she said.


Halle Barnard says her survival instincts — and Taylor Swift’s — helped her through the cancer battle and the rotation plasty.

CBS News

Her survival instincts — combined with those of Taylor Swift — helped her through her rotation plasty, where doctors cut out her cancer and reattached her foot and ankle to her upper leg to act as a knee.

“To avoid everything, I would just daydream. And sometimes I would listen to her music and I would daydream about[Swift]and meeting her and seeing her in person. And I guess, I dreamed about it, but I never thought that It will be possible.”

Little did he know that one day his dream would become a reality. When a man named Ilan Sadia – whose mother was treated for cancer at MD Anderson – heard about Haley’s Heroes, he was inspired to help the selfless little girl who turned her own health battle into a way to help others.

Sadia had two extra tickets to a Taylor Swift concert in Houston—so she and her daughter Gabriella decided to give Haley the surprise of a lifetime.


Hallie Barnard attended Taylor Swift’s Houston concert, sitting in the front row with clever signs, thanks to Ilan Sadia, who was inspired to donate his spare ticket to her.

Haley Barnard

Tickets for the “Eras” tour were notoriously hard to come by, and when Gabriela offered them to Bernard on a Zoom call, he was shocked and enthusiastically accepted. Bernard and his mother met Sadiyad in Houston last month and attended the concert with Gabriela and her friend – in the front row.

It was the perfect way to celebrate the recent news: Haley beat cancer. He no longer has “bad blood” — and thanks to his foundation, hundreds of others can say the same.

Taylor Swift fan who helped find hundreds of bone marrow donors gets surprise ticket


More Caitlin O’Kane


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