Samantha Kiger (Courtesy of family)
Samantha Kiger (Courtesy of family)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — While the Kiger family plans to spend Christmas in the hospital, they are focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.

On Oct. 24, 8-year-old Samantha Kiger was diagnosed with Flu A, and, two days later, she was admitted to the PICU at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem. More bad news came as doctors at the hospital discovered that she had pneumonia, MRSA and pseudomonas.

Now, however, Samantha is on the path to recovery.

On Dec. 13, a representative of the family said she was “doing fantastic” and no longer needs extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, better known as ECMO. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, ECMO is a form of life support for people with life-threatening illness or injury that affects the function of their heart or lungs.

On Monday, her mother said they plan to spend Christmas in the hospital, but “everything else is going great” and her “lungs and heart look good.”

As Samantha begins making a comeback, her community has been right there with her to cheer her on.

About 100 people gathered under the glow of the Atrium Wake Forest Baptist PICU windows on Dec. 10 with one goal in mind: to lift her up in prayer and make her smile.

“We’re here for Sam and not just Sam but every other kid that’s up there right now,” said Justin Church, Samantha’s softball coach. “Because no one should have to be up there.”

Those in attendance made signs and held candles, waving at her window and talking directly to her through Facebook Live.

“I just want you to know we’re all thinking about you baby,” said a woman who spoke at the vigil. “I don’t think there’s an adult here that wouldn’t trade places with you.” 

Samantha’s mother tells FOX8 that her daughter was listening and watching surrounded by her wall of prayers and her trustworthy mascot Mr. Panda.

Ultimately, the mission was successful and loved ones brought out that special smile of Sam’s that everyone was waiting to see.

“Fight the devil off of you and try to stay together,” said Charlotte Solomon. “And hold yourself so we can be together.”

Samantha’s mother is encouraging everyone to get their flu shots and get them early.

Here is a link to Samantha’s GoFundMe.