Kali's Story of Survival: Defying All Odds

In the summer of 2013, 12-year-old Kali Hardig began her fight against a very rare and usually-fatal brain infection.

Jessica Johnson, KTHV

Kali's Fight Begins

Kali contracts parasitic meningits

In the summer of 2013, 12-year-old Kali Hardig began her fight against a very rare and usually-fatal brain infection. The Benton girl contracted parasitic amoebic meningitis after visiting a water park last July.

THV11 has followed Kali's story from the beginning - from diagnosis, to progress, to survival. Beating the illness makes Kali one of three survivors in the world.

Kali, now 13, laughs, smiles, and hangs out with friends. But last summer, her family wouldn't have thought that was possible.

Kali's mom, Traci, recalled to THV11, "She went to the hospital on a Friday. We were told she wouldn't make it through the weekend."

Timeline

Kali's journey

It's been one year since we first met Kali Hardig. She contracted a rare disease called parasitic amoebic meningitis after visiting a local water park in July 2013. Defying all odds, Kali survived.

  • July 19, 2013: Kali Hardig admitted to area hospital for unexplained illness
  • July 22, 2013: Arkansas health officials announce they are investigating a case that may be parasitic meningitis.
  • July 26, 2013: Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock closes after a water sample taken from the park tests positive for the fatal parasite, which causes parasitic meningitis. (http://on.kthv.com/1kiC7eF)
  • July 28, 2013: Doctors at ACH begin experimental treatment on Kali.
  • Aug. 9, 2013: Kali was moved from ICU for continuing treatment. (http://on.kthv.com/13TqiXS)
  • Sept. 10, 2013: Doctors plan to release Kali from hospital. (http://on.kthv.com/1jNycXf)
  • Sept. 12, 2013: Streets of Benton fill with Kali's supporters for a welcome home parade
  • Oct. 7, 2013: THV11 checks in with Kali as she returns to Willow Springs (http://on.kthv.com/1pLQEaK)
  • July 2014: Kali Hardig, one year later (http://on.kthv.com/1lDKbGw)

The pond at Willow Springs, where Kali contracted the illness, is no longer a water park. It's used for fishing, and space to store boats and campers.

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Kali's Story of Survival: Defying All Odds

In the summer of 2013, 12-year-old Kali Hardig began her fight against a very rare and usually-fatal brain infection. The Benton girl contracted parasitic amoebic meningitis after visiting a water park last July.