Help Kelly, Carl & Chase Lucas

Most of us move through our day-to-day lives in relatively good health and sometimes forget to be thankful for it. Our friend Kelly Lucas has lived a life filled with optimism and gratitude – despite battling heart issues since birth. She had her first open heart surgery at the age of 28 and just recently stared death in the face and beat the odds, despite a panel of 8 doctors giving her a 7% chance of survival.

A little bit about the Kelly we all know and love: Kelly loves to help others. She loves to paint beautiful things and give them to people she cares for. She loves being a mom and a wife. She loves holding babies. Kelly always has something nice to say to anyone she meets and leaves everyone she comes into contact with feeling like a better human. Kelly looks at the world through rose-colored lens. And Kelly is a fighter.

I recently talked to Kelly and was floored by what she and her family went through. The story alone is something out of a horror movie and something that most of us will never experience - even in our worst nightmares. But the most surprising part of this conversation was how Kelly continues to take ALL of the punches thrown at her with grace and humility. She continues to be THANKFUL for her life and for each and every day given to her. When I left our last conversation I was reminded of how precious and uncertain life is and how it can all be taken from us in a moment.

Kelly is out of work for at least six months. Hospital bills are staggering and still coming in, but the surgery will likely exceed $10,000,000 in total and there may be at least $50,000 not covered by insurance. It doesn’t seem fair to Kelly’s family since they just got out of debt from her last open heart surgery three years ago, but through it all, Kelly remains in high spirits!

I asked Kelly and Carl if I could start a GoFundMe campaign to help them with their heavy financial burden of this surgery. Kelly was hesitant and told me there are so many others in greater need, but I reminded her that they AREN’T KELLY, and they aren’t our dear friend. We all give to our causes already, but let’s come together and give back to Kelly, Carl, and Chase, their son. We can all help take a bit of pressure off this family so they can spend their energy ensuring Kelly gets well and that little Chase gets to spend his teens with his HEALTHY mom!

For those of you who don’t know details, here is what happened:

·       Kelly thought her congenital heart issues were behind her after having an artificial aorta and an aortic valve implanted only 3 years ago. On July 4th, 2018, Kelly was celebrating with family and friends while watching fireworks. She had chest pain but attributed it to torn scar tissue around her heart from previous Open-heart surgeries. A day later the fevers and pain increased.

·       On July 6th, Carl rushed Kelly to the ER and was immediately admitted to the hospital with a life-threatening blood infection that had begun shutting her organs down. Her entire body was septic. Tests showed bacteria was attacking the artificial aorta and threatening her artificial aortic valve. This caused fluid to build up around the heart. The pain in her chest was unbearable. She was also experiencing excruciating headaches caused by bleeding in her brain. Pneumonia had developed in her lungs, and her condition quickly deteriorated and became a matter of life and death. Without surgery, she would die within a week. Surgeons were forced to find a donor heart to save her life. 

·       Due to the sepsis, four strokes and pneumonia, two human hearts and an artificial aortic valve were flown in hours before the surgery started. One week after arriving at the hospital for what she thought were chest pains, Kelly underwent a 12-hour Open-heart surgery to replace her deteriorating aorta and aortic valve (which involved re-breaking her sternum and re-cracking her ribs to get to her heart). Miraculously she survived the surgery, which a panel of 8 doctors gave only a 7% chance of surviving given all the serious complications she was experiencing.

·       Kelly fought for her life and survived, but had setbacks after being released to go home. The antibiotics used to fight the sepsis and pneumonia were so strong her kidneys were shutting down, her body was digesting muscle in conjunction with painful palpitations. With the threat of A-Fib and Kidney failure, Kelly was readmitted to the hospital. She was finally released to home care on July 27th, 21 days after her original admittance.

·       Kelly is now home recovering and has a PICC line IV for antibiotic infusions three times a day until October with a prognosis of returning to work after the New year. She has to be driven into the hospital every other day for tests to ensure no infection reoccurs in her heart, brain or other organs.

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Please consider helping so that Kelly, her husband, and their young son can focus on Kelly’s health and happiness instead of the financial burdens of this surgery. Thank you!


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Organizer and beneficiary

Krista Paul 
Organizer
Denver, CO
Kelly Lucas 
Beneficiary
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