It's a sweet 16 for a metro teenager who's dealing with more than a lot of us. A rare neurological disorder is keeping her in the hospital, but the Children's Center in Bethany is making sure she feels special.
Samantha is a brilliant teenager who has already touched the lives of so many during her two weeks at the Children's Center. As she battles illness, she continues to be an inspiration.
It was a special birthday party for the teenager who hasn't been able to celebrate the day for at least two years.
“Last year, we were planning to have her birthday for her 15th birthday. My mother passed away, so we were not able to do it,” said Samantha’s mother, Maria Mejia.
And this year, it’s a three week long stay at OU Medical Center. Once again, Samantha spent her birthday in the hospital.
“For me as a mom, I wish it would be better than it’s going to be,” said Mejia.
Samantha suffers from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, an inherited nerve disorder that affects one in 2,500 Americans. A disorder doctors say is expected to get worse over time.
But her mother remains hopeful.
“And I hope and I pray to God every day, and I ask him,” said Mejia.
So for Samantha's mother, each year, every new day with Samantha, is a celebration.
“She’s sitting in her hospital bed, and she’s asking me how are you, like what did you do today, you know,” said Aaliyah Herron. “And she’s not upset.”
Aaliyah Herron who's been volunteering at the Children’s Center, says they've created a special bond. It was her idea to put on the celebration.
“Her being my friend just changed my life. I love it,” said Herron. “Everything that I’ve been though is nothing compared to them fighting for their lives every day.”
“It makes me feel wonderful. Something really special for her,” continued Herron.
Samantha will remain at the Children’s Center for at least a few more weeks. She’s undergoing physical and occupational therapy with a focus on nutrition.