Kim’s story – how we can help a friend and neighbor

Double-lung transplant needed

By Jaclyn Schrock

Kim McMahon’s major lung concerns come from COPD and respiratory-bronchiolitis ILD, the worst kind. The air does not easily transfer through her lung cells as they become coated and are no longer flexible as normal when breathing. Her lungs ache from becoming hard, preventing oxygen from getting picked up by her red-blood cells. Her red blood cells are enlarged, a common response to actually attack her damaged lungs. Even with additional oxygen to increase the level of oxygen in her lungs, it is not received well by her body.  Another complication for breathing with her ridged lungs is the greater difficulty to push out the air that needs to be exhaled. This complicates making room for the good fresh air that needs to come in. Her respiratory specialists say she could have 2-24 months of life without a lung transplant.

Dr. Camarata of Nederland has been helping Kim navigate the challenges of multiple lung health issues. His guidance has been the best to get through the challenges she faces. She has worked with him to keep her health as strong as she can.

This turn in Kim’s life, where her health has prevented her from working, leaves her antsy and eager to be productive. She is not one to let others do things for her, being driven to be a care giver for others and to carry her own weight. This experience to seek help from others is a quite a humbling experience for her.

National Jewish Health has long been responsible in caring for Kim lungs and now recommends the transplant. Being barely 40 years old and in good health otherwise, a double-lung transplant is recommended for Kim by her team of doctors. Both lungs are affected with complications, so that replacing only one lung would make the one new lung susceptible to having diseases pass to the healthy one. For the last six years she has been aggressively removing the influences that had previously complicated her condition. In preparation for her transplant, she has been taking the anti-rejection medications for about the last four months. This is to assure her transplant team with University Hospital, (responsible for doing the transplant) that her mind and body are qualified as a candidate for a double-lung transplant. Once she gets new lungs, she will be required to take anti-rejection medication the rest of her life.

The next major step for Kim comes at the end of June. Kim will be spending three full days in the hospital as they do multiple tests to verify her transplant candidacy. Kim’s body and health condition will be extensively evaluated to prepare for the likeliness of matching with a donor.

Another way she must qualify for the double-lung transplant is financially. She must be able to validate she has funding available to cover her recovery expenses that are not included in her transplant coverage provided by University Hospital and Medicaid. Expenses needed for recovery include many medications, therapies, special care, and travel expenses. Double-lung transplant patient have a challenging two month recovery time in the hospital. Her doctor said, “83% of the patients come off the table and breath with new lungs.” However, the first three weeks are critical for each patient to accept this new breath of life in a body that has been diseased.  During this long time, patients often have difficultly speaking to communicate, so special ways are learned to recover from this unique transplant experience.

Lunch Buffet & Auction Benefit

Roy & Barb Stewart of the popular Last Shot Restaurant has graciously offered to provide and prepare food and host the lunch buffet benefit and silent auction for Kim’s double-lung transplant. Their tasty meals have long been enjoyed buy our community as well as those passing through our county on the scenic Peak to Peak Highway. The Last Shot is preparing mouth-watering pork, side dishes, salad bar, and non-alcoholic beverages for a $15 ticket which can be purchased in advance or at the door at the Last Shot located mid-Gilpin County on Hwy 119. Bar drinks are not included, but encouraged to support Roy’s generosity. Kim’s benefit will be held on Sunday, April 15th from 1-6 pm.

Along with a wonderful meal and atmosphere, there is a Silent Auction and Raffle to support Kim McMahon’s Go Fund Me page, This fund is currently almost a quarter of the way to her $10,000 goal. Please consider contributing to her Go Fund Me account if you are not able to attend the lunch buffet on Sunday. Raffle tickets may be purchased $5 each, 5 for $20, or 10 for $40. The Silent Auction allows you to set your price on donated items. Don’t miss out on the memorable community event!

Christ the King Community Church in mid-Gilpin is where Kim and her family have been finding strength in the blessing and understanding of God, His encouragement, protection and goodness with fellowship and worship. CTK is sponsoring Kim’s Fund Raiser Buffet, Silent Auction and Raffle. Items for the silent auction can be seen on the deck area of the Last Shot. Each item has a name, the donor’s value and the starting bid. You simply come, find what suits your fancy, and bid what you want to offer Kim’s benefit for the item.

Come set your price as you can write your own bid for cool items! The donor has set a value for their item, but bids start below that. Come check out what our community has donated for Kim’s Benefit.

There are some highly desirable items from our mountain community, including; skis, a new printer, a juicer, a day bed, baby items, Mary Kay package, jewelry, knick-knacks, infrared deck heaters, exotic healing package, indoor/outdoor bar with stools, wine glasses, slate cheese tray, new children’s books, and other surprises.

As of this printing (more items are expected) yet on hand from some local merchant donations include: BBQ items from Ace Hardware, firewood from High Timber Woods, a leather jacket, a snowboarding items from Endless Youth Boards, gift certificates and wine glasses from Underground Liquor, an oil change from Kaiser’s Automotive, a case of specialty bottled brews and a gift certificate from Tommyknockers of Idaho Springs, Mexican lariat and a powerful crystal rock from Medicine Springs Pharmacy, a sturdy mortar and pestle from Nature’s Own in Nederland, a dinner for 2 and overnight stay from Century Casino, pizza and brews from Dostal Alley, Weekly Register-Call subscriptions, sandwiches from The Deli in Nederland, B&F Grocery gift cards, gift cards from Pei Wei in Boulder, Dot’s Diner in Nederland, a day of handy man services, and a gift certificate from Dam Liquor.

Gift certificates from local merchants may be found packaged in baskets or individually offered in the Silent Auction. Some gift certificates may be offered from the raffle, along with items from the Silent Auction.

About Kim McMahon

Previously, growing up in Texas, Kim cherishes fond memories of her grandma, raised some by her while taking breaks from her mom and dad. Grandma took her to church and gave her safe keeping from the adventurous ways of her club riding folks. Kim enjoyed her younger years with her “rock-star” husband living and breathing near petroleum companies. That lifestyle left Kim a widow, struggling to find her place, imbalanced with children and many relatives who did not always encourage her faith. Her lungs have had exposure to harmful substances with second-hand smoke, her own smoking, and working for a petrochemical company cleaning toxic storage tanks to support herself.

In 2004, Kim and her second husband and two children moved to healthy Colorado where the cool, dry climate made it easier to breath than the hot, humid temps of the Houston area. Kim’s family lived in Front Range communities while working for IBM.

In 2010, after her mother passed, Kim was able to purchase property along Caesar Road in Gilpin County. She purchased land with an old mobile home unit that had an addition added. She could actually breathe well in the elevation that was cool, cold and dry. Her husband found it difficult to provide a living for their family in Gilpin County, so she left him and his bad habits to return to Texas. For about a year Kim again found it difficult to breath, but she was able to unite with her childhood friend Scott Thompkins. Together they returned to her Gilpin County mountain home in 2012, and he works in the restaurant industry.

Kim has two grown children: Haley Park 24 years old, and Mikeal Gay 21 years old. Kim is a diligent grandmother of three beautiful granddaughters. Eight year old Allie lives with her this year and attends Gilpin County School. Audrey is four years old, and Alighla is three years old. Auntie Kim also has great nieces and nephews in the area, and would love to be healthy enough to see them all grow up with your help.

This could happen to any of us  – won’t you please help if you can?

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