Brain Cancer Survivor Fallon Hall Keeps the Faith by Giving Back
“My story starts on the day the world was supposed to end: December 21, 2012,” says Fallon Hall.
That was the day Fallon closed on her new dream home. She was happy, at the top of her game, in a career that was taking off, with two adorable daughters.
The following January, while at church, she felt that God told her that no matter what happened, she should not worry about her mortgage. Her strong connection to her faith was instrumental in dealing with what came next.
A few months later, in April, while Fallon was dropping her twins off at school, she had what she referred to at the time as her first “episode.” Suddenly, with no explanation, she began to feel weak and out of breath, like she could not make it to the door. She smelled something strange. Minutes later, almost as quickly as it had come on, the feelings dissipated. Shaken, she reluctantly headed to work, thinking perhaps she ha caught a cold or a virus that was going around.
Weeks went by, and her “episodes” kept happening. She’d be at work, on the phone with a client, and suddenly could not speak, or playing video games with her kids and begin to lose consciousness. She visited her doctor, who initially thought she might have sinus problems, and put her on a medication.
The drugs didn’t help: in fact, the episodes came more frequently now; sometimes more than ten times a day. It was debilitating, affecting her ability to excel in her job and to take care of her family. A month later she was fired and denied unemployment, forcing her mom to retire early from Target to help take care of her and her children full time. Finally, her physician ordered an MRI, which revealed the source of her episodes.
“They called me and said that I should go to Henry Ford West Bloomfield right away,” says Fallon. “They told me I had a mass in my brain, and that they were going to remove it next week. It was cancer.”
A grade four glioblastoma, to be exact.
The next few weeks were a whirlwind for Fallon, and she credits her Henry Ford care team, everyone from physicians and nurses to radiation techs, with saving her life and setting her on a path to recovery. After her tumor was removed, she underwent 45 days of radiation and was given a course of chemotherapy over the next two years.
The chemo was hard, sapping Fallon’s energy and preventing her from working. A person could be forgiven if their faith was shattered by all that she had experienced, but Fallon is not your average person. She credits her relationships with God and her family with helping her through those difficult times.
“The whole time, I never missed a mortgage payment. Every time I got close, someone came through for me,” she says. “At one point, my sorority took up a collection and paid several months’ worth for me.”
The first Christmas after her surgery, the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center at Henry Ford collected gifts for her entire family, which touched her and motivated her to give back when she was no longer sick.
Today, Fallon is an active mentor for other brain cancer survivors through Imerman Angels, which also benefits Henry Ford’s Game On Cancer program. Fallon’s positivity and deep sense of empathy make her an ideal coach for others going through similar experiences, like her current mentee, a young mother who is struggling to go back to work after her brain tumor surgery.
“I want her to know and be excited that she’s a new person,” says Fallon. “You have to embrace who you are now, who you are after your surgery. I want her to know that she can feel better.”
Fallon plans to continue her mentoring efforts to inspire brain cancer patients to live their best lives. She’s had ups and downs since her own treatments—she still gets seizures—but today she is in remission and is loving life. She has harnessed her creative talent to start her own t-shirt printing business, and is enjoying raising her girls, who are now 9 years old.
“I’m not going anywhere,” says Fallon. “I’m exactly where I need to be. I’m here for a reason.”