BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) — Every year, fashion icons from all over descend on New York for the city’s fashion week

The youngest model in attendance this year was 7 year old Kaliyah Cooper. This visit to New York fashion week was more than just a chance to show off her fashion though.

For Kaliyah, this event acted as a return to normalcy.

“Hydrocephalus, at the age of 10 months old,” said Alicia Wiley, Kaliyah’s mother. “She had her first surgery around 10, 10 and a half months old. They had to go in and put in a VP shunt, which was to make the fluid drain on her brain. We all have that fluid but her chambers were blocked so that’s why the shunt was needed.” 

Hydrocephalus is usually diagnosed at birth. In some cases, the condition can cause significant brain damage to those who suffer from it. 

Although Kaliyah has fought this condition for much of her life, she didn’t let that stop her from ruling the runway. She has won numerous beauty pageants despite her circumstances.

However her condition was steadily worsening.

According to her mother, Kaliyah was unable to move for nearly 2 weeks and dealt with a lot of pain.

Worried for Kaliyah’s health, her family went to WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital where doctors found the cerebral shunt that helped remove excess cerebrospinal fluid from around her brain needed removed and repaired.

Just weeks after her surgery, Cooper was back on the runway, walking at New York’s Fashion Week after being named Little Miss International Universal USA at a ceremony in Charleston. 

She has several future plans including walking at Paris Fashion Week and visits to the Philippines.

“Thank you WVU for helping me feel better,” said Kaliyah.