LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A 12-year-old victim of a rare swimming illness was admitted to Children's Hospital in Little Rock one week ago. Family members of Kali Hardig said doctors at Children's Hospital told them that Kali suffered parasitic meningitis. As of our last check, she listed in critical condition.
Since the diagnosis, there's been an outpouring of support for her family, and it's coming from Kali's hometown of Benton and beyond.
"Were you riding your bike or were you in your truck today?" Owner Rusty Prickett asked a customer Friday afternoon at Pricketts Grocery in Little Rock.
It's all part of the usual banter with customers. But over the past few days, Prickett said that the counter conversation has come with some prayers.
"Even here in Little Rock, there are people that are very supportive and praying for her," Prickett said. "I've got three kids of my own. I can't imagine being in their shoes."
To help out the family, Pricketts put together a "spread" this week and dropped the food off at the hospital.
"We took some ribs, some fried chicken, beans, potato salad," Prickett said. "How couldn't you do it? Something like that is so tragic; if you can do something like that, that's what you got to do."
In Benton, Kali's teachers at Howard Perrin Elementary are helping, too.
"All of her teachers have been up here that she had last year for 5th grade. Both of her principals, her assistant and principal have been up here," said Kali's mother, Traci Harding, in an earlier interview with THV 11.
She said that she's grateful for the food, visits and messages of support.
"It's unbelievable," Hardig said.
Back at Pricketts, the owner said more food is on the way if needed.
"The offer is out there," Prickett said.
Prickett said that he knows Kali's family from softball games and get-togethers around Benton. He said every time he's see Kali, she's smiling, laughing and having a good time.
We also talked to Kali's principal off-camera. She's known Kali for six years and said that she's been by for some hospital visits.