8-year-old born with hydrocephalus battles 15 brain surgeries

Local News

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — Ziler Hawkins is just 8 years old and has been through more than most do in their lifetime. Since she was just 6 months old, she has had 15 brain surgeries.

Ziler has been battling hydrocephalus since birth. The condition causes cerebral spinal fluid to build up in the brain.

Hydrocephalus requires a device called a “shunt” to be placed in the brain. However, the shunt has been the cause of most of her surgeries.

Because of some of the issues facing the device, it’s important for those surrounding her to know what to do if something were to go wrong.

“Her classmates have been very interested in learning and ask a lot of great questions about it”, says her mother Kim Hawkins, “It’s also an opportunity for all of them to be familiar because she could potentially have a shunt failure while she’s at school”.

While most children are involved in extracurricular activities, Ziler attends therapy most days after school. She’s been going to therapy almost every week since birth. However, she says it’s where she gets to spend time with her closest friends.

“I have a friend there named Chelsea. I really love her so much”, says Ziler.

But through it all, Ziler has remained a warrior. Her mother says there have been a few times she has ever seen her down.

“I’ve never seen her not positive. In her whole life she has maybe woken up 5 mornings where she didn’t have a smile on her face, even when she was at her sickest point”, says Hawkins.

Ziler and her mom are continuously trying to spread the word out on hydrocephalus. You can help support Ziler and her condition by using the hashtag #zilerstrong on social media.

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