WEXFORD (KDKA) — During her senior year at North Allegheny High School, her life was inalterably changed by a brain tumor.
It set Christina Schuliger on an arduous two-year path of rehabilitation and struggle in which she’s had to relearn even the simplest tasks. But she defied her doctor’s expectations.
When we last saw Christina, she was learning to ride horse back; and even more amazingly, back to running as she had in high school.
Now, she’s engaged in a project that would dwarf even those accomplishments.
“My dream is to build an orphanage in Haiti,” Christina said.
In the past year, Christina established a foundation and raised $25,000 for Haitian relief. Over Christmas, she and a dozen University of Pittsburgh students traveled to the Eboch Orphanage on a medical mission.
Despite her own struggles, she seeks to comfort others rather than be comforted.
“I feel like they’re helping me more than I’m helping them,” she says.
Brad Henderson is head of the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation and team chaplain of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Along with former Penguins Max Talbot and Jordan Staal, and current stars like Matt Cooke, they’ve raised close to a million dollars for the orphanage.
Christina is now part of that effort.
“Christina really has a gift with people and with kids,” Henderson said.
Henderson says her story is source of inspiration for all involved.
“Struggle can make us bitter or make us better people. And Christina is just better, better for it,” he adds. “The joy she brings to life, the zest she bring to life is really incredible.”
For Christina, that $25,000 is just a beginning. Her own goal is to raise enough money to someday build and run a new orphanage in Haiti.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “You have an indomitable spirit.”
Christina: “I like to think I have a strong spirit because I don’t have much of an explanation for the things I do.”
Sheehan: “You just know you’re going to do them?”
Christina dreams dreams that seem impossible, and then they seem to come true. It’s a testament to her spirit, her perseverance and her commitment to help others.
The earthquake in Haiti happened three years ago this month.
It was Jan. 12, 2010, when the 7.0-magnitude quake devastated much of the country with the most extensive damage in the town of Port-au-Prince. In the weeks that followed there were more than 50 aftershocks.
In all, more than 300,000 people died, 300,000 more were hurt and more than a million were left homeless.
If you’d like to donate to the Haitian Relief Efforts: