A special outing for local family


CINCINNATI — After being in the hospital for six weeks, a 2-year-old Lynchburg child was recently able to clap for the very first time at a children’s theatre performance.

Grant Hall was in attendance for a special performance of “Princess & Frog,” courtesy of the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (CTC) on Feb. 17.

According to a release from Samantha Steltzer, communications coordinator for the Casey Cares Foundation, CTC is mindful of the challenges that critically ill children face.

“The preview was a thoughtful gift for Casey Cares families, like the Halls, who can accept the tickets and see an incredible performance in a low-stress environment,” said Steltzer.

The Casey Cares families sat separately from the rest of the crowd at the orchestra level, according to Steltzer, instead of the balcony in case they needed to quickly leave for an emergency.

Grant had spent the last six weeks in the hospital after being diagnosed with severe Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD). BPD involves abnormal development of the lungs, and in the most severe cases, the lungs are scarred and inflamed.

Grant’s mother, Emily, told the News Journal that Grant went in for an air-wave reconstruction procedure on Dec. 21 and was only supposed to be in the hospital for a couple of days. But due to various complications, he had to stay up to six weeks. He didn’t leave the hospital until early February.

Grant is one of seven children in the Hall family, so getting out as a family is difficult. He attended the theatre showing with his mother, grandfather, and two sisters.

“We have a large family and it’s hard to get out even without Grant’s complex needs. When we do and can’t take him it just isn’t the same. This was so accommodating, and we not only enjoyed it but needed it. Grant’s hospital stay was a scary one where we almost lost him. This was a therapeutic outing in more ways than one.”

It was at this show that Grant clapped for the first time. Emily told the News Journal they had been trying to teach him to clap at home. Emily believes being able to see others clap helped him learn.

“He was so proud and we were all so proud of him,” she said.

According to Steltzer, Grant has been with the Casey Cares program since 2021.

Kim Kern, CTC’s managing director and CEO, said, “Providing access to theatre for all children of varied backgrounds, life circumstances, and abilities is at the core of our mission. Stories such as Grant’s that demonstrate the impact we have on the lives of these children, with and through theatre, is truly the reason we exist.”

Emily said she and her family are grateful to Casey Cares for organizing something special for them and other families.

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

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