Oct 24, 2013 5:32 PM
Pictured: the beginnings of Hayleigh's special Halloween carriage
Her parents have been told she may only live to be 10 years old. Now seven, Hayleigh Gayheart was born with a cyst on her brain that left her unable to walk or talk, and doctors say she's legally blind.
But she is her daddy's princess, and he's gone to incredible lengths to make sure she knows it in this week's LEX 18 Making A Difference. Come Halloween, everyone else will know it, too.
There are few things more special than a dad's love for his little girl. "'Where's dada?'" says Ralph Gayheart to his daughter. "I see them eyes."
Little Haleigh can't respond, but it doesn't matter to Gayheart. He'll keep kissing those precious porcelain cheeks, because the reality is, they won't be around forever. "I walk in there every morning to make sure she's breathing because the doctors told us treat everyday like it's her last day," he said.
While it's typical for Haleigh to be daddy's princess every day of the year, this month is particularly fun for the Gayheart family. "Every year you take her out and she's in that wheelchair," said Ralph about Halloween. "All they see is a wheelchair. This year, they won't see a wheelchair."
It might've been a little tougher than waving a magic wand, but the idea came quickly for the Toyota employee. "I build motorized carriages and now I've built Cinderella's carriage," said Ralph. "It's basically hula hoops, dowel rods and a piece of plywood. And then, Cinderella's carriage has to glow. I went and found some battery-powered Christmas lights."
It's a perfect ride for his princess, but what's Cinderella without her Prince Charming? Well, that's where big brother Andrew comes in. "When my (Dad) had started building the carriage and he told me she was going to be Cinderella, I really wanted to be the prince with her," he said. "I really love my sister very much.:
Haleigh has got to know they all do. And, when her life's clock hits midnight, and this Cinderella writes the final chapter of her fairytale, her father knows, "If and when she's called up, she has been a princess."
The Gayhearts plan to trick or treat at Fayette Mall on Halloween night, and we're told there will be a few surprises waiting when Haleigh and her big brother arrive.