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'She was like sunshine' | Katy ISD cheerleader dies days after suffering cardiac arrest at camp

A cheer camp coach found Callie Marie Mitchell unresponsive in her bed. A week later, she was dead.

HOUSTON — Callie Marie Mitchell would have been a junior at Morton Ranch High School this year but in a heartbreaking turn of events, she recently died.

Her parents are devastated by the loss but determined to tell her story.

"She was like sunshine," Callie's mother, Michelle Donahue, said. She's also an assistant principal at Morton Ranch.

"Always wanted to be a friend to anyone and everyone," Callie's father, Scott Donahue, said.

She died doing what she loved.

"She left for cheer camp on a Monday (July 24) and she was super excited," Michelle said.

The 16-year-old was at a cheer camp at Texas A&M University when a coach called her parents to ask them a question about their daughter.

"She said, 'Hey, does Callie have a problem waking up in the morning?' And I said, 'No never,'" Michelle said.

Her parents jumped in the car and headed to College Station. Once they got there, they learned that the same coach that called them performed CPR on Callie.

"If it wasn't for (Coach) Eberly, we would have never had the chance to say goodbye," Michelle said.

Callie was airlifted from College Station to Texas Children's in Houston. She died on Aug. 1.

"Probably what happened was a cardiac arrest that was caused by Long QT syndrome," Scott said.

That's a genetic disorder that affects the electrical system that controls your heart. Michelle and Scott want other people to know about it.

"For any other parents out there, you know they do physicals every year ... EKGs are not part of a physical ... get an EKG," Scott said.

Callie's parents told KHOU 11 they're now doing genetic testing for Long QT on their other children as a precaution.

Callie started cheering when she was 2 for her brother's Little League team. Her most recent social media post embodies what her parents want her to be remembered for: "His plan over mine."

"More than anything she would want them to have faith in God and know that they are redeemed," Michelle said.

In 2019, legislation was signed into law by Gov. Abbott. It is called "Cody's Law" and requires parents to be given the chance to get EKGs done on their student-athletes. However, the screening is optional.

What is Cody's Law?

Cody's Law gives parents the option of having their student athletes undergo an ECG as part of their yearly physical, a heart test that detects underlying issues.  It was named after Cody Stephens, a Crosby football player who died after suffering cardiac arrest in 2012.  

Learning CPR

KHOU 11 Meteorologist Pat Cavlin was at one time a paramedic and walks through how to save a life through CPR and with an AED.

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