NORTON, Ohio — A Norton High School junior is fighting for her life after she collapsed and stopped breathing during the homecoming dance on October 19.
According to the teen's family, 16-year-old Emma Pfouts is facing a life-threatening situation because of a severe asthma attack and an allergic reaction.
Her mother, Christina Weigand, said Emma was placed in a medically-induced coma and suffered brain damage. She's listed in critical condition at Akron Children's Hospital.
Emma is a cheerleader and her family describes her as a kind, genuine girl, bursting with life, spirit and full of love.
"This is heartbreaking for us," Weigand said. "She was everything to us, so it's just heartbreaking to us that she's going through this and there's nothing as parents that we can do. Right now, neurologically, she's not doing well."
Weigand said Emma was looking forward to a fun night with friends at homecoming, but while she was dancing, she began to struggle with her breathing. School officials called her parents and requested a rescue squad.
A police officer watched as Emma walked to her car to grab her asthma inhaler, but as she returned to the building, the officer noticed the teen was in serious trouble. She never made it back inside.
"And they went to sit her down in a chair and that's when she stopped breathing," Weigand said.
Weigand said her daughter was revived twice through CPR, and during her second day at the hospital, doctors told the family that the teen could have less than 12 hours to live.
"We asked everyone to pray and she's still here and she's still fighting," Weigand said.
Weigand said Emma has dealt with asthma since she was a toddler, but the condition has always been manageable. She also has allergies to eggs and chicken, but the family has no idea if Emma came into contact with either of those foods on homecoming.
"This is very out of the blue," she said.
At the Norton High School, there are signs of support for Emma inside the building and outside near athletic fields. "WE ROAR WITH EMMA" t-shirts will be sold at Friday night's home football game. The shirts are also being sold on-line. Proceeds will go to the family to help with medical expenses.
"Everyone is trying to help and do everything they can and we're so appreciative of everything. We're so thankful," said her stepfather, Chris Weigand. "It's a day-to-day thing with her. She has been stable, but critically stable."
Emma's mother also expressed gratitude for all of the support from the community and the school and continues to ask for more prayers.
"The power of prayer, if they could just pray for her, we've seen it create a miracle," she said. "We just ask for those continued prayers to bring her back to us."
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