By: Carmen Heredia Rodriguez
April 30, 2019

The snake struck a 9-year-old hiker at dusk on a nature trail. The outrageous bills struck her parents a few weeks later.

It was dusk as Oakley Yoder and the other summer camp kids hiked back to their tents at Illinois’ Jackson Falls last July. As the group approached a mound of boulders blocking the path, Oakley, then 9, didn’t see the lurking snake — until it bit a toe on her right foot.

“I was really scared,” Oakley said. “I thought that I could either get paralyzed or could actually die.”

Her camp counselors suspected it was a copperhead and knew they needed to get her medical attention as soon as they could. They had to keep her as calm and motionless as possible — the venom could circulate more quickly if her heart raced from activity or fear.

One counselor gave her a piggyback ride to a van. Others distracted her with Taylor Swift songs and candy as the van sped from their location in a beautiful but remote part of the Shawnee National Forest toward help.

First responders met them and recommended Oakley be taken by air ambulance to a hospital….