13-year-old cheerleader mysteriously dies 2 hours after falling ill at competition
A 13-year-old Kentucky cheerleader mysteriously died before a competition on Saturday, two hours after she reported feeling ill, her parents say.
Lilliana Schalck, an 8th-grade student at Highlands Middle School in Fort Thomas, Ky., was preparing to perform at a cheer competition in Columbus, Ohio, when she told her teammates she felt weak and was experiencing a tingling sensation in her limbs.
The girl's father, Dan Schalck, told WCPO that he imagined his daughter may be suffering from dehydration or even anxiety about the upcoming performance.
Lilliana's team called an ambulance, and during the ride to a nearby hospital, she was reportedly alert enough to respond to questions from paramedics. Upon arrival, Lilliana was quickly moved from the emergency room to the intensive care unit, where doctors warned her parents to expect the worst.
"At one point, the medical staff said, 'If anyone's close to her, you need to call them,'" her father told WCPO. "And I'm like, 'You've got to be kidding me. How can this be?'"
Lilliana's condition rapidly deteriorated and she died about two hours after she was admitted to the hospital. The cause of her death remains unknown. The Franklin County Coroner's office told WBAL a full autopsy report will not be available for six weeks.
Although she was still in middle school, Lilliana was skilled enough to compete on a local high school's varsity co-ed squad, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
According to Highlands High School Athletic Director Kevin Nieporte, Lilliana's ability and attitude made her "one of our most talented cheerleaders."
On top of her athletic aptitude, those close to Lilliana also remembered her for her cheerful disposition.
"She was the nicest," Nieporte said.