(Denise Crosby / Beacon-News)Before I found out how a condition she was born with — primary immunodeficiency — that leaves her at risk of severe infections, has so dramatically altered her childhood.
Before her mother told me Olivia performed last Saturday in front of 1,200 people, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov.
Bruce Rauner, at the Children's Ball sponsored by Lurie Children's Hospital, which raised .75 million for research in one evening alone.
Before the 17-year-old led me into the family room of her home on Aurora's far East Side to show me a large couch spilling over with hundreds of toys collected for hospitalized kids at a benefit performance she organized at Rosati's Pizza in Yorkville recently.
In 2015 Olivia was also named winner of the Aurora Public Library's Teen Talent Show, accepting her prize from a wheelchair because she'd just undergone surgery."I really don't know why I won ...
probably because I was the only one who also played the guitar," she said matter-of-factly.
"And that in essence is who she is."Aurora teenager Olivia Ports, who is battling a life-threatening disease herself, shows off some of the many toys that were collected at a Yorkville concert benefit she organized for the children of Lurie Children's Hospital.
Aurora teenager Olivia Ports, who is battling a life-threatening disease herself, shows off some of the many toys that were collected at a Yorkville concert benefit she organized for the children of Lurie Children's Hospital.
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That's why this year, the budding musician decided to do a benefit, asking guests to bring a toy that could be taken to the young patients at Lurie.
Buoyed by the success of this fundraiser last Friday — she received hundreds of toys as well as cash donations — Olivia is already talking about a repeat performance next year.