Austyn Halter loses battle with leukemia

Published 6:44 pm Monday, August 7, 2017

A little girl who captivated the hearts of area residents during her battle with leukemia has died.

Austyn Halter, 4, dubbed by family as their “Miracle Girl,” passed away Aug. 4 at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee after a two-year battle with a rare form of leukemia.

Becky Ballard, Austyn’s great-aunt, said the family thanks everyone for their love, support and prayers at this time.

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Professional golfer Andrew Landry, originally from Groves, donated his first endorsement check of $10,000 from Moonshine Sweet Tea to Austyn shortly after his performance at the 2016 U.S. Open, where he led after one round and remained in position to win going into the final round.

He said the news of Austyn’s death was “super devastating.”

“My heart goes out to her family and friends who’d been a part of her life,” Landry said. “… It’s just devastating. On the other hand, the way I’m looking at it, it was a true angel who was sent down. She touched my life. I never even met the girl. Just following her story and talking to her mom and dad and hearing how passionate and strong she was, it’s crazy to me to think a girl that incredible could go through something like that.

“She brought myself closer to God. I found prayer in it praying for her,” he said. “She changed my life. She was an angel sent here four years ago.”

News of Austyn’s passing spread quickly along social media sites under #AustynStrong.

Austyn, born January 20, 2013, is the daughter of Joshua and Sarah Halter, according to her obituary. “She was the answer to their prayers. She enjoyed spending time with her family, singing, dancing, painting, shopping, Starbucks coffee, watching movies, and dressing up as her favorite princess or superhero. She was a ‘Mommy’ to many dolls, and loved to pretend that she was a nurse. She even said that’s what she wanted to be when she grew up. During her short time on earth, she touched thousands of hearts with her unwavering strength, bravery, and her contagious smile. Austyn loved to love, and was loved by all. She will be greatly missed.”

Visitation will be held at Clayton-Thompson Funeral Home in Groves, on Wednesday, Aug. 9 from 3 until 9p.m; with a memorial service from 7 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12 p.m. Thursday Aug. 10 at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica in Beaumont. Burial will follow at Oak Bluff Memorial Park in Port Neches immediately following the funeral mass, under the direction of Clayton Thompson Funeral Home. Please join Sarah, Josh, and family for a gathering at Beau Reve in Port Arthur after funeral and burial services.

“Sarah and Josh would like to thank the doctors and staff at Texas Children’s Hospital and at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for their incredible care provided to Austyn and the entire family. The family appreciates all prayers and concerns extended during this difficult time,” according to the obituary. #AustynStrong #ForeverFour.