Pictured is Camille Kerlin playing tennis at Warsaw Community High School Tuesday afternoon. Kerlin has planned a tennis benefit July 19 at the high school tennis courts to raise funds for Riley Hospital For Children and the Kosciusko County Riley Kids Fund. Photo by Jennifer Peryam, Times-Union
Pictured is Camille Kerlin playing tennis at Warsaw Community High School Tuesday afternoon. Kerlin has planned a tennis benefit July 19 at the high school tennis courts to raise funds for Riley Hospital For Children and the Kosciusko County Riley Kids Fund. Photo by Jennifer Peryam, Times-Union
Warsaw resident Camille Kerlin is 17 years old and has had three open heart surgeries.
Kerlin, who will be a senior this fall at Warsaw Community High School, has planned a benefit tennis event called “Racquets For Riley,” which is to raise funds for Riley Hospital for Children and the Kosciusko County Riley Kids Fund.
Kerlin has been a Riley kid since she was born. She was born prematurely at 29 weeks, which is 2-1/2 months early, and weighed just over two pounds. She is the daughter of Rick and Diane Kerlin.
The fundraiser is July 19 at 8 a.m. at Warsaw Community High School tennis courts to benefit Riley Hospital For Children and the KC Riley Kids Fund.
The cost is $50 for singles and $25 per hour for doubles. There will be a youth court available for 12 year olds and under for $15. There are 10 courts available to play on.
The deadline to register is Saturday. For more information and registration forms visit www.racquetsforriley.com or call Kerlin at 574-267-2120.
People also can visit the site to donate funds even if they will not participate in the benefit.
There also will be a benefit July 19 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Zoyo Neighborhood Yogurt, 550 W. CR 300N, where 20 percent of proceeds will go to the Racquets For Riley event.
Kerlin will play on the Warsaw Community High School Varsity Women’s tennis team in the spring, and has played tennis since freshmen year.
At birth she was diagnosed with transposition of the great vessels of the heart, her blood flowing backwards through her heart. She had a double outlet right ventricle and the conduit in her pulmonary artery needed to be fixed.
“My original conduit could not be saved so an artificial conduit was put in,” Kerlin said.
She also had a hole between her ventricles.
Her first cardiac surgery was on the day she was born, followed by a second surgery when she was 6 weeks old.
She was the first kid at Riley to live through the cardiac surgery procedure.
She had three open heart surgeries at ages 2, 7 and 14. All of the surgeries have been done at Riley and she will have more in the future.
She still goes to Riley once a year for checkups for her heart.
In addition to her surgeries, she has been diagnosed twice with bacterial endocarditis, a serious infection of the heart.
She had to be admitted to the hospital for the condition, the second time having blood clots in her heart and lungs.
This was resolved with high-powered antibiotics. She was able to return in time to play part of her sophomore tennis season at Warsaw Community High School in 2013.
Kerlin said she came up with the idea for the fundraiser to support Riley.
“I wanted to give back to Riley because they have given me so much and the ability to play tennis and be a normal kid, not just a sick kid,” Kerlin said.
Kerlin said the fundraiser is for children and adults of any skill level.
“The fundraiser is important to me because Riley has been such an important part of my life and I wanted to give back.”
Rick Orban, WCHS junior varsity and varsity men’s and women’s coach, said he hopes people who meet Kerlin understand everything she has gone through and what Riley has done.
Orban said besides Kerlin, he knows two other people, Myles Bartley and Orban’s grandson, Ricky Calhoon, who have gone to Riley.