| Neighborhoods

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Liberty girl headed to music concert

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Caitlin Conroy, 10, of Liberty is all smiles as she shows off her new guitar. It's one of many gifts Kim Shidel, vice president of White Oak-based charity Jamie's Dream Team, gave to her on Thursday.

Daily Photo Galleries

McKeesport Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, 1:16 a.m.

Caitlin Conroy wants to be a musician. The 10-year-old Liberty girl sings and listens to music a lot.

She suffers from epilepsy, as well as an inoperable low-grade glioma or brain tumor and several learning disorders.

A fourth-grader at South Allegheny Elementary School, Caitlin was diagnosed with epilepsy and the tumor in September 2010 after she suffered a seizure during a car ride with family members.

But the health challenges aren't keeping Caitlin from her musical dream, thanks to a White Oak-based nonprofit organization. Jamie's Dream Team, which makes dreams come true for the terminally ill and injured, has provided her with a new Mitchell acoustic guitar, guitar lessons, a Primanti Brothers gift card and spending cash to go along with tickets to Friday night's Selena Gomez concert at the Petersen Event Center.

Caitlin will be in the crowd with her mother and several others singing her favorite Gomez song, “Who Says.”

Caitlin's tumor is inoperable because it touches the brain stem and the procedure to remove it is too risky, said her mother, Shelley Conroy. She said her daughter suffered from other illnesses before and after the diagnosis, she was in and out of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC many times.

“Every time we go it's something new,” she said. “The hardest part is struggling with the epilepsy.”

Dream Team vice president Kim Shidel said the guitar and guitar lessons came from Guitar Center in Monroeville.

Caitlin was all smiles on Thursday at Shidel's house, and said she was happy to have her dream come true.

Shelley Conroy wrote a letter to Jamie's Dream Team founder Jamie Holmes after Caitlin's aunt contacted the organization.

“I was really excited to be able to do this for her,” Holmes said. “When I met her I knew she was deserving. They're a wonderful family.”

“It's amazing what you guys do,” Shelley Conroy told Holmes after volunteering to help the organization. “We think that music will help her 'cause she'll relax. We're hoping she's a musical genius; who knows.”

Holmes has made dreams come true for more than 320 families in the past six years.

The latest fundraiser is a Coach and Vera Bradley Purse Bash on Nov. 2 from 6:30-10 p.m. at the Boston Spectrum, 6001 E. Smithfield St. in Elizabeth Township. Tickets are limited. A $25 donation is required. The event includes free food and refreshments. Winners need not be present. All prizes must be claimed within 30 days. Call 412-377-3898 for more information.

All purses come with a gift receipt and are exchangeable at the Ross Park Mall Coach and Vera Bradley stores.

More information about Jamie's Dream Team is available online at Monetary donations to Jamie's Dream Team can be sent to 2023 Cypress Drive, White Oak, 15147.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read McKeesport

  1. Daytime gunfire damages vehicle in McKeesport
  2. Irwin woman waives sex charges to court
  3. Details emerge in North Versailles drive-by shooting
  4. Elizabeth Township business forum draws a crowd
  5. Homeville Viaduct project should extend life of span
  6. Intrepid VFW post in West Mifflin earns all-state designation
  7. Golf outing wraps up successful Invitational
  8. Several McKeesport party-goers arrested for hindering shooting investigation
  9. Elizabeth Forward community offers support to family of drowning victim
  10. Narcotics officers thwart Elizabeth drug deal
  11. Restrictions begin on Route 51 south