ISU sorority to hold fundraiser to benefit and celebrate a sister’s life
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 00:02
After weeks of anxious waiting, a group of doctors stepped in to Camasia Foltz’s room located in the transplant wing of Cleveland Clinic to tell her they had found a match.
The next morning, she underwent a successful heart transplant surgery and was responding to others just hours later, while still under heavy sedation.
“Just found out we have a heart,” Foltz’s mother, Julia Foltz, wrote on a blog on Feb. 4.
Later the next day, when her daughter awoke from sedation, Foltz wrote: “My daughter continues to be the prime example of one of the strongest women I know.”
More than a week later, Camasia Foltz, a sophomore nursing major at Indiana State, has recovered unusually well, her mother said. As Valentine’s Day approaches, her sorority sisters are giving ISU students an opportunity to send some love her way.
Alpha Chi Omega sorority will be selling red carnations and ribbons for $2 each today and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the HMSU Commons in support of the Foltz family. There will be an additional jar for donations, as well.
“As soon as we found out about Camasia, we all started brainstorming ideas,” said Alayna Toy, junior speech pathology major and Alpha Chi Omega member. “Some of us were just talking about how much her family is going through, so we wanted to help in whatever way possible because we knew Camasia would do the same thing for any of us. We wanted to do this to recognize Camasia for all she has gone through.”
Through various fundraisers, social media and old-fashioned word-of-mouth, a flood of support from ISU, the community and her family have encouraged Foltz throughout her journey.
“It means a lot. It touches my heart because other people care about her as much as I care about her,” Foltz’s mother said.
Daniella Parducci, a freshman marketing major and the Alpha Chi Omega vice-president said that the support from the ISU Greek community has been a success, as well.
“It really astonishes me that all the ISU Greek community has come together to support our event for Camasia,” said Parducci. “Everyone has been so helpful to us and people have donated a lot already. Also, SGA is helping us out, too, and it is so thoughtful. I am really happy that everything is going smoothly to help her and her family out so much.”
After an echocardiogram last July, Foltz learned that the walls of her heart were thickening and her injection-rate—the measure of her heart’s contractions—had drastically changed due to a genetic disorder called Danon’s disease. Danon’s causes the heart to harden to the point that it can’t properly pump. Many members of Foltz’s family have died from the disorder, and her mother underwent heart transplant surgery when she was 35. There are just a few known cases of Danon’s disease in the United States.
“Actually, now living, I only know of Camasia and I,” Foltz’s mother said.
In the face of her heart’s ailing condition, Foltz decided to attend fall classes despite the needed tests and procedures that required she travel to Cleveland once a month. During an appointment in October, Cleveland Clinic staff decided to place her on the heart transplant waiting list.
“When she stood up last fall and told us, it brought tears to everyone’s eyes,” Toy said. “I just was shocked, scared and proud all at the same time because of Camasia’s strength and courage. She truly is amazing. It makes it hard that she is all the way in Cleveland. We obviously wish we could go see her, but she’s still in our thoughts.”
Following a semester full of doctor visits, Foltz traveled to her parents’ home in Jasper, Ind. for winter break and again decided to continue with her education at ISU.
During a trip back home in January, she experienced intense spells of dizziness and shortness of breath, prompting a call to her doctor in Cleveland who suggested she see him as soon as possible.
During a heart catheterization procedure, doctors determined that Foltz’s heart was failing and began administering two drugs to ensure the beating continued. Her conditioned heightened her transplant status to the most urgent stage and moved her name to the top of the transplant list.
As she awaited news of a potential match, Foltz’s mother said her daughter became anxious and somewhat bored with the confines of her hospital room, but she remained optimistic.
“She has such an amazing personality,” Toy said, “And you would never know everything she has been through because she’s so upbeat and always has a smile on her face.”
Foltz’s mother said she’s thankful most of all for the donor who paid the highest price to keep the smile on her daughter’s face for years to come.
“I know something tragic happened to allow our miracle for Camasia and myself to remain here,” she said. “Organ donation is the greatest gift and I can’t thank our donors or other donors enough for giving the gift of life.”