FORT THOMAS, Ky. — A Strep infection was responsible for the death of a 13-year-old girl who suddenly fell ill at a cheerleading competition in February, according to a coroner's report.
Lilliana Schalck, an eighth-grader at Highlands Middle School, was performing at a cheer competition in Columbus, Ohio when she told her teammates she felt sick and weak. And ambulance drove her to the hospital, where she died within two hours.
A Group A Beta-hemolytic Streptococcus infection killed Lilliana, according to a newly-released report from the Franklin County Coroner's Office. Family members said they had been unaware of the infection.
"Apparently, an underlying Strep infection overwhelmed her immune system with little or no warning, and catastrophic results," Lilliana's family said in a written statement Friday. "We knew this [coroner's] report was coming and honestly have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand it changes nothing for us. But, on the other hand, we wouldn't wish this nightmare on anyone and maybe this report might help prevent a similar outcome for someone else. Lilliana would surely help if she could, and this is just an extension of that spirit."
The family said they're still in shock over what happened.
"We are forever heartbroken and appreciate the respect we have been given so far, and ask that to continue as we focus on her life and legacy, as well as our life without her — however unwelcome it is," they said.
The family also said they wanted to thank the many people who have offered love and support since Lilliana's death.
"We are so thankful, and honestly overwhelmed, by those that have reached out and continue to find new ways to support Lilliana's memory on an almost daily basis," they said.