Community raises nearly $100K for girl awaiting transplant

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by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 7, 2011 at 5:19 PM

MILL CREEK, Wash. -- The messy basement at the Healy home in Mill Creek is actually a good thing.  It is filled with more than 100 donated items for a silent auction this Saturday night that will raise money for their daughter Kayla, who is waiting for a double lung transplant.

Kayla, 18, has cystic fibrosis.  She learned she would need the transplant last September.  Then she learned even after her family's insurance kicked in, the family would owe at least $100,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.

Without hesitation, a fund-raising effort was underway.  Classmates at Jackson High School held a Walk-A-Thon, raising $13,000, and they did not stop there.  In all, students raised about $35,000 for Kayla. 

Tina Jensen, the school nurse, has spearheaded many of those fundraisers.  Her son also had cystic fibrosis and needed a double lung transplant.  He died four years ago.

"After the transplant, he had 11 really good years," Jensen said.  "It was just amazing to see him do things he couldn't do before."

Other fundraisers brought in even more money.  As of Thursday, the community had raised about $96,000.  They hope Saturday's auction will put them over the $100,000 mark.

"It's amazing to me in a struggling economy that people are willing to give that much to us," said Lori Healy, Kayla's mother.

The family is anxiously waiting for a phone call from the hospital telling them it's Kayla's turn for a transplant.  Her parents keep a phone at their side at all times and monitor every single phone call.  When the hospital calls, the screen reads "Unknown," which gets them especially excited.

"We're just waiting forever, it seems like," Kayla said.  "Just got to wait a little longer."

Kayla's patience and bravery amaze her family.

"If I had to go through something like that, I'd go crazy," said Ton Manes, Kayla's father.  "She's the strongest person I know."

The silent auction takes place this Saturday, July 9, at 6411 Seaview Avenue NW in Seattle.  Individual tickets cost $40; $75 for couples.  Tickets can be purchased online: www.COTAforKaylaH.com.

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