Kelsey was a fun loving, smart, energetic 15 year old that loved country music, mud running, 4wheeling, riffle and bow hunting but most importantly revving her straight pipes on her Ford truck. Kelsey also had a dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
Kelsey lived her faith each and every day. She would light up a room with just her smile. Kelsey Mae was our princess dressed in camo.
But on June 21st 2012, Kelsey drove her 4wheeler 3 blocks to run a quick errand. On her way home, she was hit by a pickup.
Within hours of her accident, Kelsey was air lifted to Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo and had undergone brain surgery with only a 1% chance of survival.
Kelsey would spend the next 5 days in the PICU and undergo another brain surgery. Kelsey never woke up, she did everything she could to fight her way back to us but God needed her more.
Kelsey passed away on June 26th, 2012. Our family was in shock but we knew Kelsey wanted to be an organ donor and we honored her decision. Kelsey had chosen to be an organ donor just a few months earlier when she received her driver’s license. Kelsey was a type of person that believed in paying it forward. She knew how important it was to be a donor even at her young age. We knew Kelsey would want to give life and to spare others from suffering. Kelsey was able to save between 60-100 people due to her young age. That is extraordinary but then again Kelsey was an extraordinary young lady.
During this time, LifeSource coordinators and the entire Sanford team treated Kelsey and us with such respect and dignity. They prayed with us, cried with us and gave us comfort. They honored Kelsey with a Donor flag raising ceremony. As Kelsey’s donor flag was being raised, 5 military jets flew over in perfect formation. Then one of the jets slowly drifted away and blew a white cloud of smoke as if it were revving its engine. It reminded us of Kelsey revving her straight pipes on her Ford truck. We later found out that the jets flying overhead were NOT part of the ceremony. This was once again, Kelsey telling us “I’m ok, I made it!” Kelsey will forever be our angel in the sky.
We are honored to know that our spunky little girl gave the gift of life to so many and that her legacy will live on for generations to come.
This is just a small part of our journey. We have endured great sadness at times but more importantly we have embraced so many amazing blessings in our lives. In the summer of 2016, we were able to meet one of Kelsey’s organ recipients and have become great friends. We also correspond every Christmas through letters with another organ recipient that celebrated his 8th birthday on October 28, 2016. To actually see these organ recipients and to know Kelsey is living on in them gives Kelsey’s death a purpose. It gives us hope and continued faith in the darkest of times.
I encourage you to share your journey with others and to have the courage to carry on their legacy. It is our obligation to wipe the tears away, pick up their torch and continue their work. Whether it is by being active in your community, helping your neighbor or simply by being present in your families lives. It all matters. It is our way of showing our angels in the sky “we are ok, we will make it!”
We would like to share Kelsey’s confirmation verse that she chose one month prior to her tragic death.
“I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name
I will lift up my hands.”