Town remembers Ridgefield boy who battled leukemia: ‘He connected with everybody that he met’

Photo of Alyssa Seidman

RIDGEFIELD — While Logan Hale was accomplished in many things, his parents believe he will most be remembered for the size of his heart.

Hale was a fixture in Ridgefield’s youth football organization, had a black belt in Taekwondo and lent his acting talents to the big and small screens. He did all this — and more — even after he was diagnosed with leukemia in January 2020.

Last month Hale had a minor relapse with the disease when doctors detected some immature leukocytes in his system, his parents said.

“I broke down like a baby and started crying,” his mother, Kristina Hale, recalled, “but he grabbed my hand and said ‘mom, this is not the end.’”

Hale died on Dec. 30, 2021, four days after his 13th birthday. He was an eight grader at East Ridge Middle School.

Hale went into remission shortly after his initial diagnosis but maintained treatments over the past two years. And while he was unable to play football because of a mediport, that did not stop him from supporting his team.

He was ever-present on the sidelines during games and practices, encouraging his teammates and assisting coaches as they ran drills with other players.

Around the time of Hale’s relapse, Ridgefield Youth Football coaches Matt Chojnacki, Casey Gaughran and Brent Morton established the “Fight Like Hale” award. It will be given annually to a player who demonstrates resilience in a given season despite dealing with struggles either on or off the field.

“We want to continue giving out that award every year at every grade level as an organization,” Chojnacki said. “Logan was a really good role model for the football team. … He connected with everybody that he met, and it’s gonna be missed.”

Hale played basketball and lacrosse among other sports, and was also known to skate at the local park. He qualified for national Taekwondo competitions and was working towards his second-degree black belt before he got sick.

“His love and passion for (sports) is something I wish people will always remember,” Kristina Hale said. “He believed in the brotherhood — that you can do one thing by yourself but you can do so much more with your teammates.”

Outside of his athletic abilities, Hale was selfless, kind and always willing to help others.

“I’ve never met a person, certainly not a child, who had the kind of empathy and genuine interest in how other people were feeling, what they were thinking and how they were dealing with situations,” Hale’s father, David, said. “Logan had a lot of great qualities, (but) the thing that stands out is the size of his heart.”

Hale exemplified this nature until the very end of his life. Before Christmas, he and his mother were in New York City for an appointment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center when Hale saw a homeless man on the street. Hale asked his mother how much money she had in her purse; he wanted to give all of it to the homeless man.

“He gave him the money and said, ‘excuse me sir, you look cold; why don’t you get yourself a tea or a coffee?’” Kristina Hale recalled. “And he did it with dignity. … He did not view anybody as less than him — he viewed everybody as equals.”

Hale was cognizant of how fortunate he was to have grown up in Ridgefield with the opportunities he had, his mother said.

When her son’s leukemia relapsed Kristina Hale said she felt as if she was standing in a blizzard of the unknown, but the support of the community that followed was like a blanket, keeping her and her family warm.

“In speaking with some of Logan’s friends and teachers, it is apparent the amount of joy that this young man brought into the lives of all he knew,” East Ridge Principal Jennifer Phostole said. “He will be remembered for his great humor, kind-heartedness and special friendships.”

One of Hale’s dreams was to donate video games consoles to the hospital so kids his age could stay connected with their friends while undergoing treatments, according to his obituary. David Hale said this dream could become a reality in the form of a foundation down the road.

He said his son’s legacy is defined by two standards: his kindness and empathy and his unwillingness to give up.

“He had an absolute belief that if he fought hard enough he could accomplish anything,” David Hale said. “He’d get this fiery look in his eye because he really felt it.”

Hale is survived by his parents, his brother, Ethan, his cousin Owen and aunt Kristina, and his grandma Irina and grandpa Viktor, according to his obituary. A celebration of his life will take place at a later date.

Contributions in Hale’s memory can be made to