Kaylee, Halkos to appear with Walters on ‘20/20’Written by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It would take a powerful personality — and some innocent audacity — to hijack an interview while talking with Barbara Walters.
Cue Kaylee Halko. The bold 7-year-old from Moncolva was interviewed by the legendary journalist this past spring in New York City for a story set to air on ABC’s “20/20” at 10 p.m. Sept. 10.
“Kaylee and Barbara went outside and talked,” said Tim Halko, Kaylee’s dad. “Barbara just made a comment afterward that Kaylee talked her ear off and kind of took over the piece and was actually asking her questions.
“She has no idea who Barbara Walters is. She knows who she is now, but I don’t think her or the boys know exactly who she is and how long she’s been doing this.”
Tim and his wife, Marla, and their children, Kaylee, T.J., Brendan and Jacob, traveled to the Big Apple the weekend of April 23-25 for the interview with Walters.
“ABC approached us to do a story and originally they told us it would be a regular correspondent,” Tim said. “I guess Barbara Walters found out about it and she stepped in and said she wanted to handle this story.”
Walters’ special report is titled “When 7 Looks Like 70 — A Race Against Time for Three Young Girls.”
ABC released this description about the program: “What happens to a family when a child’s birth becomes a medical mystery? Barbara Walters reports on Kaylee Halko and Lindsay Ratcliffe, two vibrant young girls who suffer from a rapid aging disease called progeria, a fatal condition that currently affects 68 known children in the world. The disease causes children to age at 10 times the normal rate. It is incredibly rare — occurring in only one in four to eight million births — and always fatal. On average, children die at the age of 13. Walters also interviews one of the oldest surviving children with progeria and explores the secrets of aging that her body may reveal.”
Kaylee’s battle with progeria was documented in a 2009 TLC film, “6 Going on 60.” She also appeared on “The Dr. Oz Show” in February.
She continues winning hearts.
“[Walters] loved Kaylee,” Tim said. “Kaylee was telling her jokes and doing cheers.”
“Kaylee wasn’t shy at all; she was just hamming it up,” Marla said. “I think that Kaylee had a good effect on [Walters]. She seemed to enjoy Kaylee.”
“Kaylee is a delightful little girl, and I pray that the new research will prolong her life,” Walters said in a statement from ABC News to Toledo Free Press. “She and her family are a lesson to all of us about courage and devotion.”
What did Kaylee think of Walters?
“She was awesome!” Kaylee yelled.
Marla agreed: “When we were doing the interview, it was really relaxing. I wasn’t really nervous because [Walters] was just so nice. She just puts you at ease.”
The show will air as the Halkos wait to hear results from the first drug trial.
“The trial team is working hard to analyze all the data, to make sure the information that gets out there is accurate and complete,” said Audrey Gordon, president and executive director of the Progeria Research Foundation. “We are hoping the results come out this year.”
Kaylee’s Course fundraiser set for Oct. 9
Kaylee’s Course, the fifth annual race for progeria, will take place at 10 a.m. Oct. 9 at Monclova Primary School, 8035 Monclova Road.
Cost is $12 ($15 day of event) for the 5K run/2-mile walk; children 10 and younger are free. A silent auction also will be hosted, and there will be a raffle.
Participants who register early will receive a T-shirt designed by Kaylee’s brother, T.J. Halko, 12.
Proceeds from Kaylee’s Course will go to the Progeria Research Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to discovering treatments and a cure for the disease.
During the past four years, the event has raised $170,000, according to Tim Halko, Kaylee’s father.
“[My wife] Marla and I really appreciate the support we’ve received from the community,” he said.
The Halkos are still looking for silent auction items and sponsorships. Contact Tim or Marla at email@example.com or (419) 878-3231.