Grand Island teen returns home after heart transplant, gets surprise drive-by parade

Local4 News at 10
Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 4:20 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Following two months in the hospital, a 19-year-old returns home to Grand Island with a sentimental welcome.

Katie Cameron has been in Omaha since August following a heart transplant procedure. On Wednesday night, she returned to G.I. and it didn’t go without a heartfelt drive-by parade to show her and her family support.

Katie Cameron has been in an Omaha hospital since August, and is now back in G.I. with a new heart.

On Aug. 7, Katie’s parents Wendy and Scott took her into Children’s Hospital & Medical Center for a cold, but doctors noticed Katie going into heart failure.

After being transferred to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the family spent two weeks going through criteria to get on the transplant list. After a week of waiting, they received a phone call.

“We got a heart,” Scott Cameron said.

He described the experience as amazing and scary as they knew someone made the sacrifice for Katie to receive a heart but knows that family is also grieving. Katie’s health issues started at 18-months-old when she suffered from a stroke and was diagnosed with leukemia which led to heart failure 17 years later.

Family, friends, neighbors, police, firefighters and many more community members started to line up at Shoemaker Elementary School and then traveled by the Cameron house to wave and honk their horns in support of Katie’s battle.

Not only her parents, but her long-time family friends are overwhelmed by community support during the parade.

“Seeing this right now, it made me cry seeing everyone here right now,” Kelsey Dramse said. “It is heartwarming.”

“It gives me goosebumps,” Kaya Dramse said.

Wendy and Scott Cameron are thankful for their co-workers as they had been away from their jobs taking care of their daughter.

“Our employers, we have amazing employers. I work for the city, she works for the state,” Scott said. “The city has been absolutely amazing.”

“The time they have given us to be with our family and to maintain our jobs and just the outpoint of love from everybody, the police department, the sheriff, the fire department,” Wendy said.

Sept. 28 marks her three-week anniversary with the new heart and will have to do weekly appointments to check-in.

To any family facing similar situations, Katie’s parents say to have faith in God.

To donate and support the Cameron family financially, you can find their GoFundMe page here.