RETURN TO TABLE
Kansas Girl Brushes Off
CFIDS, Contributes To Cause
Given the choice, Hallie Kretsinger would have rather been
playing soccer. But when CFIDS struck her four
years ago, the Emporia,
Kan., girl turned her limited energies to
painting. The result was a burst of creativity, a lesson in perseverance — and a
fundraising effort that will benefit others who continue to fight the
Hallie recently presented The
CFIDS Association of America with a check for
$1,500, the amount of money she raised selling 100 small watercolor pictures she
painted as part of a school project. “It was a pretty major thing for me,” the
eighth-grader says. “I’m glad to think that I can do something to help.”
Hallie first began feeling the effects of
CFIDS in 1998, when she was nine years old.
Hallie and her family are still not sure what triggered the illness, but Hallie
says she has largely regained her strength in the past year.
The illness forced Hallie to forego playing on her beloved
youth soccer team, the Emporia Explosion. At its worst,
CFIDS kept Hallie in bed nearly 20 hours per
While unable to play sports, Hallie cultivated another hobby:
art. When her classmates went out to play at recess, she stayed inside and
learned to draw.
Last year, Hallie was asked to create a project for her middle
school Enrichment Services Class. That’s when she came up with the painting
idea, sparked by a family trip to the art mecca of Santa
Fe, N.M. “I saw lots of paintings
of flowers, and thought, ‘That’s something I can do,’” she says.
She originally planned to paint about 50 pictures. But when
she started approaching people in the community about buying them, Hallie was
overwhelmed with requests. “I really got flooded,” she says. “Instead of 50, I
ended up doing 100.”
Each of the small paintings took about half an hour to
These days, Hallie is back playing soccer with the Explosion.
She has adopted a new sports hero — soccer star Michelle Akers, another person
with CFIDS. Hallie found out about Akers while
writing a paper for school. She has written a note to Akers, and received a
response along with several photos.
Life seems to be back on track for Hallie, but she says she
will never forget the hard lessons that CFIDS
taught her. “Things happen for a reason,” she says. “I think that I’m pretty
lucky to be feeling better. I have really learned a lot, and I hope that what I
did can help find a cure for other people who are sick.”