Olivia Dailey; It began the day she was born, 4 months early, and at a pound and a half. Within a few days, she was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus. It didn’t slow her down. She consistently achieved academic success far above her fellow classmates. She was planning a future as a neurologist or neuroscience researcher and was well on track for that. Then the train derailed. The thing about Hydrocephalus is… there’s no cure. The only treatment is always brain surgery. Surgery always comes with risks. She had 13surgeries as she entered 9 th grade at her former school with no issues. Surgery in January ended up with her contracting spinal bacterial meningitis. All told that year, she spent more than 7 months in the hospital in 3 stays. She spent months in the PICUat Levine where she fought for her life, coming back from the less than 1% chance of survival she had been given. She then had another year at home recovering. She had completely lost her short-term memory and needed to rebuild that as much as the TBIallowed. She also needed to relearn to walk, talk, and eat. She would attend PT, OT, Memory Therapy 4 or 5 days a week, multiple hours for each session. She never complained and was focused on healing and returning to school.
After an amazing “Make A Wish” trip to Paris at the end of that year of therapies, she began attending school at QGHS, retaking her freshman year since she’d been unable to complete it. She started a new school, knowing no one, struggling with her memory, struggling with the physical issues from the TBI, struggling with learning names and socializing. One thing that was rapidly apparent was that, while she may now struggle with math as a result of the TBI, her intelligence and love of school were not damaged or destroyed. She has spent the past 4 years as an advocate. She speaks at the Walk ToEnd Hydrocephalus each fall. She has spoken at a national level. Her recovery is followed by neurosurgeons and researchers around the world, as they continue to learn how a brain can heal and adapt from something so traumatic. An experimental surgery that saved her life has now been used on other critical, high-risk cases. She’s a representative for Make A Wish and speaks to companies and organizations. She may be quiet, but when she’s passionate about something, she doesn’t hold back.
Since starting at QGHS, she’s had about 16 Brain surgeries (and a total of 53 as of Jan18th 2021) and 4 ancillary ones… Many of the procedures were for… Seizures, vision issues, continued short-term memory loss, and balance issues.
Her future? She’s taking a short break after high school and plans to start college in January. Neuroscience is still the draw. She plans to discover better technology and protocols so that no one ever had to endure what she has.
We are so ecstatic for Olivia to graduate and continue on leaving her mark on the world but we will miss her tremendously here at QG! – Dr. S