St. Louis Proud: Little girl has big job on MLS construction site

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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – A young local girl is instrumental in building the Major League Soccer stadium in downtown St. Louis. Amid hundreds of workers, dozens of heavy pieces of equipment, and heaps of dirt, watch “Stella” help set steel.

“It was a pretty important part of the project,” said Sonny Kamper, superintendent of the MAK (Mortenson | Alberici | L. Keeley) civil team. The companies commissioned the construction of the St. Louis MLS stadium. “We like having her here and we think it’s pretty cool.”

The huge purple lift is named after a cute little girl, Stella.

“She is now five and a half years old and we would consider her a medically fragile child dealing with seizures in addition to a host of other health problems,” said Kacie Craig, Stella’s mother.

Stella has a severe epilepsy disorder caused by a spontaneous genetic mutation.

“There are about 450 children worldwide who have a mutation in the SCN8A gene, but Stella is 100 percent unique to them,” said Craig. “Stella has no head control, very little leg and arm control. She cannot sit alone. She doesn’t turn around. It is non-verbal. “

But she has a pretty good family, including a grandfather named Greg.

“Stella’s grandpa Greg has been with us for 15 years,” said Levi Dawson, president of Chase Co. Rentals. “He made a significant contribution to getting us to where we are and supporting us. He would do anything for us. In this way we can give something back to him and his family.”

Chase Co., a heavy equipment hire company, is based in Sullivan, where Stella’s grandparents live. Wanting to raise awareness and funding for SCN8A, the company ordered a huge elevator painted purple. The color represents epilepsy awareness and it was only right to name it after the 5 year old.

“The idea was to pick up Stella,” said Dawson.

“To us it just meant that such a small company has such a big heart for our family. It made a huge difference, ”said Craig. “Often times, your days are filled with doctor’s appointments and therapies and tough conversations and very difficult life and death decisions, almost daily, that often leave you feeling very alone and isolated and making someone come up and say, ‘We do this for you and your family. “It was just huge. Absolutely huge. “

Then one day, the crew who built the MLS stadium came across Stella’s story.

“I thought it would be super cool to have her on site on such a high profile project and try to help the family as much as possible to reach Chase Co. through United Rentals. We all came together with the help of ‘MAK’ and City SC and made it happen. “

Now “Stella” is there, literally building part of the history of St. Louis.

“Stella works hard here every day and we’re proud to be part of the awareness we create,” said Khalia Collier, vice president of community relations for St. Louis CITY SC.

“I’ve had people on the actual website sending pictures on Facebook and saying, ‘We saw Stella today. ‘It is also very heartwarming that it is in St. Louis right now, as all of their doctors and specialists are at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “

A spokesman for the soccer team that will play here shared the news with Stella:

Stella, we are proud of you. We love to support you and can’t wait to see you at St. Louis CITY SC for your first game because you are so strong and great. fight on

And Stella’s family has this message for the world:

“Sometimes when you see children who cannot speak and some people think they are not helping the community, but Stella showed us this unconditional love and I am glad that everyone can see that she is worth it on this earth to be. We’re just so grateful, ”said Craig.

Stella – the little girl who softens hearts, builds our future, and makes St. Louis proud.

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