Lily Meade, a 5th grader at Central Bucks’ Mill Creek Elementary School, is set to return home today after being at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for eight weeks. On Dec. 8, Lily came home with a headache and mild fever. In less than 24 hours, Lily’s fever had risen to 105 degrees, and she was taken to Doylestown Hospital.
Lily was then airlifted to CHOP after her condition worsened. She had a severe case of the flu which caused pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Lily then experienced difficulty breathing, heart and blood pressure issues, and organ dysfunction. She was put on life support in a medically induced coma and remained in the intensive care unit. Lily missed Christmas and the holiday season with her family, as she was fighting for her life.
News of Lily’s story spread quickly, and her GoFundMe page raised over $20,000 in a matter of days. Her parents created a blog through Caring Bridge to post updates on her condition, and it received over 11,000 views. On Dec. 12, Jon Meade, her father, wrote, “Our hearts are breaking to see Lily like this, but we know that she is in the best place in the world for care.”
Less than a month later, on Jan. 25, he shared the news that Lily would be coming home and wrote, “We’ve been so cautious about the future, and haven’t wanted to get too excited, but it definitely feels real in a way it hasn’t before.”
Melissa Meade, Lily’s mother, noted that the moment it changed from if Lily was coming home to when Lily was coming home was a pivotal moment in her tough journey.
Lily’s teacher at Mill Creek, James Molenari, shared that the class made videos for Lily to watch and each student had a chance to speak. Mr. Molenari added, “I would also send videos to her mom. Lily loves music, so I would record the songs at our winter concert and sing-a-long and send them. Lily’s mom would play them for her when she was in the induced coma.”
The class was able to use Microsoft Teams so they could play a game of Bingo with Lily.
Lily, known her funny, caring, and beautiful personality, endured a physically and emotionally taxing journey. But she is a fighter and has become a symbol of strength and hope to the community.
Lily’s family cannot express its gratitude enough for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time.
“The one thing that I would want to know is how I can begin to thank so many people,” Melissa told the Herald. “There have been so many people that I want to thank and hug because of the outpouring of support. It literally brought us to our knees.”
Jon added, “The number of people who have offered themselves and done so much in a short period of time is staggering. That despite their own needs, their own lives, their uncertainty about what to do — and believe me, Melissa and I have been there too — we have been offered all manner of help and support. It’s deeply humbling in a dozen different ways, and our gratitude for these kindnesses is unending.”
On the morning of her release, Lily posted a message of thanks to her friends and family for their help and for the get-well-soon prayers, cards and gifts people sent.
“The first thing I’m going to do when I get home is pet Sophie my fluffy dog,” she wrote. “I missed my family and my friends and will see them soon. Since I missed Christmas while I was at CHOP, I am also looking forward to opening all of my Christmas presents!
“I can’t wait to play soccer and ride horses again. But it might be awhile. I’ll go back to school very soon and can’t wait to see my friends and teachers.”