Thursday, April 13, 2017

As journalists, it is our job to stick to the facts, remain unbiased and professional, and keep our emotions in check. For the most part, I’ve become a pro at this. I’ve covered tragedy. I’ve met people with extraordinary gifts and talents. I’ve written about death and healing. With this job comes the great responsibility of telling the stories of the people in this community. Every once in a while, some of those stories hit close to home.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from my contact at Belton Regional Medical Center inviting me to their next Great Save event. I’ve written about some great saves in the past, and they always make great stories, so immediately I was intrigued. Then, the story pitch listed the name of the patient, and I was speechless.

Kayli Welvaert, whose story is on the front page this week, was a name I knew, as I’ve known her mom, Noelle, for around 20 years. Kayli’s story was a story I knew. I remember seeing her mom’s pleas for prayers, for a miracle, on social media last December. I had seen pictures of Kayli while she was in intensive care, and I saw posts of Kayli as she recovered from her heart attack and coma. Kayli was alive, and she was okay. Mostly, I remember how familiar this all seemed to me at the time.

In 2011, my best friend Danielle suffered a major heart attack. After no oxygen made its way to her brain for roughly 45 minutes, despite revival of her heart, she was no longer with us. Several days later, her family made the tough decision to let her go.

Like Kayli, Danielle was a mom, a sister, a daughter and a friend. Both in their 20s, Kayli and Danielle had shown signs of heart issues in the past, but nothing that would amount to life or death situations at such young ages. Back in 2011, I hoped and prayed for a miracle, for a blessing, for Danielle to pull through. Last December, as memories of Danielle flooded my mind while watching Kayli’s story unfold, I knew that, more than ever, her family needed prayers and support.

Kayli got that miracle that day. As I watched her earlier this week hold her daughter and kiss her cheek, I was thankful for the miracles her medical team provided for her. This mom, this daughter, this friend to many now has a second chance at life. Kayli is a living, breathing, walking miracle, and I am grateful to be able to share her story, no matter how emotional I may have gotten while writing it.

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