12 Days of Giving: Day Two, Kaye

Kaye with Kelsey’s father, Steve


Kaye, a single mother of three, lives and works in colorful Colorado. Working as a physical therapist, Kaye has watched hundreds of people fight to improve their lives. In 2009, While looking through the Daily Camera online, Kaye came across an article about a young girl named Kelsey in need of a kidney transplant. The picture reminded Kaye of her own daughter, Kelly, since both were 20-years-old and full of gumption.

Kaye had sympathy for Kelsey, a young woman who had to spend so much of her time on dialysis. As Kaye read on, she learned that Kelsey had two kidney transplants but unfortunately her body rejected them both. Her father was her first donor, and her mother and younger sister were doing everything to help Kelsey.

One detail in Kelsey’s story stuck out to Kaye, the fact that the donor needed to have an 0 negative blood type. Immediately, Kaye knew what she had to do, and went to the University Hospital to begin tests to become a living donor for Kaye.

Kaye’s children were all very proud of their mother’s desire to give the Gift of Life, and supported her throughout the entire donation process.

“They had no doubts that it was the right thing to do,” Kaye said.

After a second round of testing, Kaye got in touch with Kelsey’s father, Steve, and reassured him that everything with this transplant would be fine. Steve was hesitant to be positive about Kelsey having a third transplant, but was grateful for his daughter to be given another chance at life- all because of Kaye.

The final round of tests were performed at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and Kelsey’s family raised enough money to cover Kaye’s flight and hotel for the tests. As for work, Kaye’s boss was supportive with giving her time off. Kaye was overwhelmed by the heartfelt compassion show to her during this journey.

The transplant and donation went well, and Kaye was released from the hospital just a few days later- motivated to get back on her feet so she could catch a concert happening a week after the surgery,  She couldn’t jump up and down with everyone else during the concert, but enjoyed her evening out to the fullest!

Kaye was back to work within six weeks and has not had any problems since her donation. Kaye continues to tell those around her about her journey as a living donor, and is always excited to share that the donation process was much easier and less painful than she ever imagined. Besides, she says” Any pain is well worth being able to save a life!”

Without hesitation, Kaye says she would be a living donor again, and she is amazed that people are still unaware that they can save a life through living donation.

Along with being a mother of three grown children, and a physical therapist, Kaye can now add ‘life saver’ to her list of duties!


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