An 11-year-old girl who survived the Texas school massacre has been hospitalized after nearly suffering a heart attack while visiting a memorial for her best friend – who had protected her from bullies.
“I think it’s just from a broken heart that we need to work on healing,” Illiana Treviño’s mom Jessica told People magazine.
“Everything just broke her in half, and she feels the fear of being bullied again.”
The fourth-grader’s heart rate spiked last week when she went to place flowers and a teddy bear at the memorial for Amerie Jo Garza, 10, her best friend and one of 19 children and two teachers slaughtered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
Illiana had no previous cardiac issues, her mom told the mag, but doctors said she had been close to suffering a heart attack. She remains hospitalized in San Antonio more than a week after the scare.
During deranged gunman Salvador Ramos’ rampage on May 24, Amerie was shot while trying to call 911 on her phone, the victim’s grandmother Berlinda Arreola has said.
Illiana wailed in despair when she saw her friend’s face on TV as one of the many dead victims.
“I told her, ‘I’m sorry, baby. There’s just some ugly people in the world,’” her mom told People.
The girl’s heart began racing during her visit to the memorial on June 2 so Jessica took her to the local hospital.
“The hospital told me, ‘Your daughter’s going into cardiac arrest.’ And I said, ‘What?’” she told the news outlet. “Her heart [rate] skyrocketed because she couldn’t take the trauma … all the trauma and pain from it.”
Illiana was transferred to the hospital in San Antonio, where she is exhibiting signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the report.
“Her body was basically shutting down completely. It couldn’t take it. Her body was basically reacting to the shock,” the mother said.
A GoFundMe page says that “Amerie would protect Illiana from bullies and always came to her aid … The medication that she’s been given is not working.
“The Doctors biggest worry is that she might go into cardiac arrest. We are barely seeing the ripples side effects of what this tragic incident has brought to this community.”
More than $25,000 has been raised as on Friday morning.
“Amerie made her feel safe and made her feel OK to go to school,” Jessica told People.
“Amerie’s parents did an amazing job raising such a beautiful little love. It’s so sad how things work out in life, because it’s not fair. It really isn’t fair that any of these children lost their lives, but it just really breaks me more because I know how much this child did for my child,” she added.
News about Illiana’s heartbreak comes after Joe Garcia suffered a fatal heart attack after he went to lay flowers at the memorial to his slain wife of 24 years, Irma Garcia.
The family said it was brought on by the grief of his loss.