O’Hara fights for her life during pandemic

Living a normal teenage life, 15-year old athlete Emilee O’Hara is now fighting for her life in the hospital. Her family is doing everything possible to help and support O’Hara through this heartbreaking time.

O’Hara played on the girls JV-A soccer team and even participated in track before it was cut short this season. Close friend and sophomore, Dakota Roth, had been playing on O’Hara’s soccer team for three years. Roth said, “She is the sweetest and most caring person I have ever met, and doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.” 

The day after her birthday in the middle of March, O’Hara had a headache and her mother took her to the doctor where she was then sent home with antibiotics for a sinus infection. Not long after, her condition worsened and she was sent to the hospital. A CT scan revealed that she had a clot and a bleed in her brain. O’Hara then suffered from a stroke and was immediately sent to Phoenix Children’s hospital where she stopped breathing due to the brain clot and bleeding. 

O’Hara was in need of a craniotomy to allow space for her brain, but unfortunately continued to have issues and her parents were left to decide between a mechanical thrombectomy, or nothing at all. Immediately after, she developed another clot. Running out of ideas, doctors continued to treat O’Hara, and revealed the CT and MRI scans that showed immense brain damage from the stroke and clotting. Emilee has been fighting for her life for almost a month now, and is beginning to wake up from her coma. 

On April 20th, Emilee’s mother, Jennifer O’Hara, sent out an update that mentions, “from a clinical standpoint, Emilee is semi awake, she is starting to open her eyes, has had some movement to both sides of her body but is not yet following commands.” O’Hara has been improving and has shown she is not giving up easily. “She is breathing without assistance, her fevers have stopped and her vitals are excellent,” her mother says, “she is out of the ICU and therapy has come in twice.” O’Hara’s diagnosis of CVST appears to be extremely rare.

Due to the threat of Covid-19 and family members not able to visit patients, O’Hara’s parents are unable to, and refuse to send her to a facility where they will not be able to be by her side. O’Hara’s parents are being trained to use medical equipment to properly care for their daughter in the comfort of their home. Once the training is finished and equipment is delivered, Emilee should be able to return home in a few days. In order to help support O’Hara in her fight there is a GoFundMe page going on for Emilee. Organized by Jacki Kunze, this fundraiser will help their family provide Emilee with everything they need. Kunze says, “The money you have all donated will help with medical costs.” The donations will go towards Nursing care, medical equipment, and anything else needed to aid Emilee through this tragic time.

Click here to help support Emilee