WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Children’s lives are being saved every day, right here in the Ohio Valley, by a special team on the ground and in the air. 

The WVU Medicine Children’s Transport Team brings even the smallest and sickest patients to the best care possible. 

In just a few weeks, the area will come together to support the people who save these kids at the 16th WVU Medicine Children’s Gala. 

16th WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital Gala is raising funds to support transport team once again

If you need to know why your support is so critical, just ask one of the team’s most recent patients and this year’s “Miracle Child” who will be featured at the gala.

I’ll definitely be back to dancing soon.

Olivia Kiger-Camilo

Olivia Kiger-Camilo lights up the stage with her dancing, and thanks to the doctors at WVU Medicine Children’s the 17-year-old will perform again. 

In fact, it was after a weekend of dancing in March that Olivia first noticed pain in her foot. 

That was an early sign of what would become a life-threatening experience. 

As a dancer, as an athlete, you kind of just brush it aside. I thought I maybe broke a toe. As the night went on and as we finally got back home, my pain just kept growing and growing.

Olivia Kiger-Camilo

Olivia explained that her parents knew something wasn’t right, so they took her to the emergency room. After 24-hours her condition worsened. She said her foot was black and blue, she had low blood pressure and a high temperature.  

Eventually Olivia was air-lifted by the WVU Medicine Children’s Transport Team to WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital in Morgantown. 

“It will be ok:” For the WVU Medicine Children’s Transport team, it’s more than a job

I had to have emergency surgery. They could kind of tell what it was. They had to do biopsies and test it first, but by that point they knew they had to take really aggressive action.

Olivia Kiger-Camilo

Olivia had an extremely rare case of monomicrobial necrotizing fasciitis, which is a flesh-eating bacteria. She said that according to her doctors, there are only about 2,000 cases a year. It’s also very rare in a healthy child.

She first arrived at the hospital in March, spent time in the ICU and was on a ventilator. 

Through the weeks of her stay Olivia had multiple surgeries to clean her foot and cut out the bacteria. She said her first stay was for about three and a half weeks. She then went back at the end of April for a skin graft and came home for good at the beginning of May.

Guiding her and her family through the process was a team of doctors and nurses at WVU Medicine Children’s.

I had like a new family there to take care of me and I never felt scared. I always knew that there was going to be someone there to help me whether it was to make me laugh or to hold my hand or to give me medicine.

Olivia Kiger-Camilo

She said she appreciates how the doctors included her in all the decisions and conversation about her medical care.

They would always come to me and talk one-on-one. I think that was really important for them for me to understand what was going on and for me to be part of the decisions.

Olivia Kiger-Camilo

Now Olivia is doing physical therapy and getting stronger everyday. She credits her life to the staff and her team of doctors and surgeons and their compassionate care. 

They would just take hours out of their very busy schedule to just sit with me and answer all my crazy questions about what was happening to me and other people they’ve treated.

Olivia Kiger-Camilo

This experience has also shaped Olivia’s plans for the future. After she finishes her Senior year at Linsly, she wants to become a doctor so she can impact someone’s life with the same personal and heartfelt care. Her doctors have even helped her along by participating in projects she had to do to finish some credits from last year’s classes.

Olivia has been cleared by her doctors, so she’s doing physical therapy to work on strength and mobility. She’s also running and lifting weights because she hopes to go to the Naval Academy.

The transport team saved my life and it saves lives everyday. Children who wouldn’t be able to get competent medical care wherever they live. They have a chance at life because there are resources that can take them to a hospital of incredibly compassionate, highly trained people who that’s all they do. They save lives every day.

Olivia Kiger-Camilo

If you’d like to support the WVU Medicine Children’s Transport Team you can do so at the WVU Medicine Children’s Gala.

It’s on Saturday, August 6th at Oglebay.

Olivia will be honored as a “Miracle Child” during the evening as well.

Last year alone the transport team cared for 689 children and mothers. 117 of them were from the Ohio Valley. 

If you’d like to attend the gala, and support this care, visit ovchgala.com