The girl who conquered flesh-eating bacteria is the ‘miracle baby’ at WVU Medicine Gala | News, sports, jobs


Photo provided – Olivia Keeger-Camillo, 17, of Wheeling poses with infectious disease doctor, Dr. Martin Weiss, while receiving treatment at WVU Hospital of Medicine for Children in Morgantown.

WHEELING – Olivia Keeger-Camillo, 17, of Wheeling will be this year’s Baby Prodigy during the Ohio Valley Children’s Gala at WVU Medicine.

She is the daughter of Rebecca Keeger and David Camilo of Wheeling.

Keijer Camilo was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, a rare and dangerous flesh-eating bacterium, in March. Her condition, which started in her foot, led to the need for surgeries to remove the affected parts. She also got skin grafts. She spent, in total, about a month in the hospital in Morgantown.

Kiger said this year’s gala, scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday at Oglebay’s Glessner Auditorium, will help raise money for the hospital’s transportation team.

“She almost died in March,” she said, adding that her daughter was flown by medical helicopter to the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit. “They saved her life. It’s been a very long journey. … It’s really amazing.

“We are so grateful for the personal and lifesaving care she received at WVU Medicine Children’s. They not only saved her life, but influenced the course of the rest of her life. She is interested in becoming a doctor now,” Keger added.

Keeger-Camillo, a student at Linsley School, said she would one day like to become a pediatrician. While in the hospital, she said she bonded with her caregivers. She said that having her family there to support her made her fight easier.

“Aside from the physical pain, my wonderful family was with me the whole time. I really connected with the staff at the hospital. They became my second family.”

Kiger-Camilo said the medical staff was there when she needed a friend, too. There were plenty of services like music, games, and movies to watch as well.
“They make the environment so that children remain children and be as natural as possible,” she said.

Keeger-Camillo said her skin grafts have recovered and she is now working on rebuilding the muscles and mobility she lost while in the hospital.

She said her father is a physical therapist and helps her with exactly that.

“I just got back from running,” she said. “I want to go to the Naval Academy, so I have to work on my strength and work on running, push-ups and pull-ups.”

Kiger-Camilo has indicated that she is “absolutely” planning to start dancing again.

“Dancing is my second home. I hope to be back there. I will slowly start again in a couple of months,” she said.

She said Kiger-Camilo is not interested in getting the condition again because it’s so rare to start with it.

There are 2,000 cases each year. It was a great storm in terms of how I got it. “I will never understand it again,” she said.

Dancers are known to push through pain and injuries to continue doing their arts. She added that she and her fellow dancers need to take injuries and cuts seriously and clean them properly to help prevent potential infections and further injury.

Keeger-Camillo’s recovery has received national attention in recent weeks. Her story was found in the New York Post, People and on Yahoo! This has amplified her message to others – for other children who may need extra medical care, they shouldn’t be afraid to travel to get it.

“Don’t be afraid to go to Morgantown if something goes wrong. You will be given excellent care. I felt supported throughout the trip. I felt really loved, and that was an important part of this and healing.”

The event, titled “Night of Hope” on Saturday, will feature gourmet dinners, entertainment, dance, and live and silent shows. For ticket information, visit ovchgala.com.



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