Community rallies around Ferndale 6-year-old who needs transplant



Posted on May 30, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Updated Sunday, May 30 at 11:00 AM

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - "Liv Life" it's called, the fundraising push for a little Ferndale girl facing some big medical challenges and some big medical bills. The "Liv" is short for Olivia. Olivia Cook is just six years old and has a rare form of kidney disease.

Her family has health coverage that will take care of most of the cost of a desperately needed transplant, but the expenses are still piling up. Making things much tougher on the family, Olivia's dad is fighting cancer.

The City of Bellingham has adopted her cause and the "Liv Life" campaign is bringing in people and money and good energy from all over Whatcom county.

On Saturday, the owners of "The Markets" dedicated all their barbecue proceeds to the campaign, hoping to raise at least $10,000. Owner Kevin Weatherill and his wife read about Olivia in the paper. He said they knew they needed to do something to help.

"Just a beautiful little girl, great smile, pretty blue eyes. It just touches your heart that she's so brave, that she's facing this and you feel wonderful when you meet her," he said.

Danica Kilander met Olivia at the gym, got to know her, heard about her medical problems and decided to give something as well. She's donating a kidney. She's a match for Olivia and the surgery will happen in July.

Danica is also heading the fundraising drive and hoping to raise $200,000 for the cost of the transplant and future medical expenses.

"People are just so generous to us and it's amazing," said Olivia's mother, Kimberly.

If you'd like to help, visit

Download Kris Orlowski's song for Olivia