Calumet City family, community excited for baby Harley’s homecoming


CALUMET CITY, Ill. — After nearly 300 days in the hospital, a south suburban family is getting ready for their baby girl to come home.

On March 1, Harley Williams and her twin sister Haley were born three months premature.

After nine days, unfortunately Haley did not survive. The family said they also didn’t expect Harley to make it.

“They weren’t supposed to make it to begin with — we would hear ‘they won’t make it by Sunday,’” father Harry Williams said. “12 weeks later, how is she still alive?”

At just 1 lbs. and 4 oz. at birth, baby Harley had a tough road ahead while staying at Rush Hospital in Chicago.

“She had lung disease and two holes in her heart,” Williams said. “Lots of fluid would get on her lungs.”

Her parents hoped clamping the first hole would let the other one heal naturally, but Harley had to have open-heart surgery at Lurie Children’s Hospital.

“She definitely fought for her life,” Williams said. “There were times in the incubator because the lungs collapsed — lots of moments were scary.”

Amid Harley’s hospital stay, her parents were accommodated at UIC by Rush and at the Ronald McDonald House by Lurie Children’s. Her parents have nothing but great things to say about the hospital staff that has taken care of Harley.

“They gave the best advice, they sided with us as she made milestones,” mother Dionne McKethan-Williams said.

Her surgery was successful and Harley started to add on weight and show more of her personality.

Harley’s nose tube was removed Friday and she’s expected home on Wednesday. For the time being, she will be on oxygen and have a feeding tube at home.

“We were hoping she was going to be home for Thanksgiving, but we are so excited for Christmas,” Williams said.

Harley’s story got the attention of Calumet City officials — who are throwing the family a “Let’s Help Harley” fundraiser to help with medical expenses. The $20 breakfast takes place at M&J Pancake House on Dec. 19 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Family said if healthy enough, they hope she’s able to attend the fundraiser.

To reserve a table or donate, you can text Ald. Monet Wilson at 708-586-4990.

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