North Country Inspiration: Illness can’t dampen little girl’s spirit

A little girl with a big journey ahead
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 5:48 AM EDT
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EVANS MILLS, New York (WWNY) - Olivia Gorman is a little girl with a big journey ahead.

“Step one, grab your colors,” Olivia said. “Black, light green, this kind of purple.”

Seven-year-old Olivia has had her favorite stuffy Batty since birth. She got him during the start of many hospital visits.

“They told us she basically had an extra artery with no blood flow wrapped around her trachea,” her mom, Angie Gorman, said.

Despite several surgeries, hospital stays, and illnesses through the years, Olivia is a normal kid who loves playing with her siblings, petting her dog, and catching frogs.

But she’s still unwell. Her airway still hasn’t corrected.

“Basically, the more she’s getting sick, the more her lungs are collapsing,” Angie said.

Yet another surgery is on the way. This one in Ohio next month.

“I think this is the last thing they can try, because they’ve tried everything,” Olivia said.

With her breathing issues, Olivia can’t always run and play in the same way as other kids.

“She’s not allowed to participate in normal everyday activities that other kids might do,” dad Jeremy Gorman said. “Go to recess, stay inside when it’s cold out. We have to tell her sometimes, ‘don’t keep running, slow your breathing, calm yourself.’”

But if this October surgery goes well, there will be no more pumping the brakes during playtime.

Sometimes you have to go to the hospital,” Olivia said. “You might feel sad and you might feel a little bit different, but it’s fine if you’re different because everyone’s different.”

Olivia turns 8 years old on Tuesday, September 12. Then on the 15th, she has a benefit at the Evans Mills Fire Hall to help pay her medical expenses.

“It’s going to be at the firehouse and it’s pasketti,” Olivia said. “We made oatmeal, chocolate chip, M&M cookies. We made a sign for people to come in and get some pasketti.”

Illness may slow Olivia down, but it can’t dampen her sunny spirit.

“For how much she’s been through, she’s stronger than all of us combined,” Jeremy said. “She’s one heck of a kid.”