Bayan was more than just a little girl. She was an Angel, in every sense of the word. Her smile would light up the room, and her presence would melt even the hardest of hearts.
— Reem Hassaballa, Executive Director of the Bayan Hassaballa Foundation and Bayan's Mom






Bayan was born in 1996 to Reem and Hesham Hassaballa. She was the light of their young lives. She had a seemingly normal childhood, but as she got older, her parents noticed that she was a little clumsy. Seeing that it did not get better, Bayan saw multiple doctors who could not find anything wrong. "Enroll her in ballet," was what one doctor said.

In 2003, however, she was hospitalized for pneumonia. She had frequent infections as a child, in fact. At that point, she saw specialists at Rush University Medical Center, who made the diagnosis of Ataxia-Telangiectasia.

AT, as it is also known, is a crippling genetic disorder in which kids lose their balance and eventually cannot walk - Bayan was in a wheelchair by age 9 - and are plagued with infections. What's more, many kids with AT are prone to cancer. Most do not survive their teens.

Determined not to let her disease ruin her live, Bayan's parents did everything they could to have Bayan live a normal life. She went to Physical Therapy. She had a dedicated aid in school. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, despite her disability.

In the fall of 2008, Bayan became more tired than usual. Her Dad, a physician, was vigilant about the possibility of cancer and sent her for blood tests. She was anemic. Her parents took her to see a blood specialist, and she was eventually diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

She underwent multiple, intense rounds of chemotherapy starting in January 2009. While she responded well to the treatments, the harsh chemotherapy took a toll on her fragile body. In June 2009, after her last "maintenance round" of chemotherapy, Bayan developed a bloodstream infection and all of her organs shut down. On June 7, Bayan Hassaballa flew back to her Lord's Garden.

A Tribute to Our Angel, Bayan Hassaballa