Community raises money to help LilyAnn
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
WENATCHEE — LilyAnn Hill’s medical problems are extensive. She was born with a hole in her brain, needs a wheelchair, doesn’t talk, and has epilepsy that causes unexpected and life-threatening seizures.
But the 7-year-old Chelan girl also has a smile that has lit up an entire community this Christmas season.
“Everyone just loves Lily,” said CherylAnn Crego, director of the nonprofit group Give Naked. “She is such a wonderful story.”
After hearing about a terrifying seizure during which LilyAnn’s mom performed CPR on her in the car as her father raced them to Lake Chelan Community Hospital, a host of community and school groups have taken on the cause of raising an estimated $20,000 to buy the family a service dog that would detect seizures before they happen.
So far, they’ve raised $8,452 through events like donkey basketball, a swim-a-thon, raffle, a movie at the Ruby Theatre in Chelan, collecting spare change and other donations.
It’s the largest fund-raising effort to date for Give Naked, a local organization that started two years ago and is serving as an umbrella group for the Paws For Lily campaign. Students at Chelan High School and Morgan Owens Elementary, where LilyAnn attends classes, and the Chelan Rotary have all been involved in the fundraising.
“The community response has just been lovely,” said LilyAnn’s father, Merick Hill. “We can’t go down Main Street with LilyAnn without people stopping us.”
Hill said that when LilyAnn was born just before Christmas in 2005, they initially didn’t know about all her problems. But they did notice that she was prone to rapid jerking motions and, at 4 months, a brain scan revealed that she had Porencephaly, a neurological disorder characterized by holes or cavities in the brain, and infantile spasms.
How you can help
Visit www.givenaked.org to donate.
She has since been diagnosed with intractible epilepsy, which means that medication is not effective in stopping or controlling seizures, Hill said.
Last year, the Hills moved to Chelan, where Merick lived in the 80s and 90s. A short time later, LilyAnn had a seizure that caused her to stop breathing. That’s when her mom attempted to revive her in the car on the way to the hospital. The family was met by an ambulance, and LilyAnn was brought back to life by paramedics, Hill said.
Since then, she had averaged a couple of severe seizures a month, including one other one where life-saving measures had to be taken.
In August, the family met local real estate agent Richard Hilton, who was moved by LilyAnn’s health concerns. He contacted Give Naked with an idea of raising money for a seizure dog.
The organization then contacted the Hills to see if they liked the idea.
The family is excited about the possibility, but Hill cautioned that an evaluation would need to be done by an organization that trains the dogs to deterimine whether LilyAnn would be a good candidate for one.
“So many people want to help her,” Hill said. “We’re crossing our fingers and hoping that it will happen.”
Crego said Give Naked is making plans for a music and silent-auction event early next year to help raise funds for LilyAnn.
“But we’re really hoping it will just end up being a success party to celebrate that we’ve already raised the money and she has her dog,” she added.
Michelle McNiel: 664-7152
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