Thursday, November 04, 2010

Students fight for one of their own

Kayla Healy

By Vanessa Van Hyfte King 5 News

MILL CREEK, Wash. -- Jackson High School students are trying to save the life of one of their own.

Today the school held a fundraising walk in the town center in Mill Creek.Students are trying to earn $50,000 for 17-year-old Kayla Healy.

The Jackson High senior was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was five months old.

Remarkably, she didn't let the disease interfere with her active lifestyle. She has competed in three triathlons. But nowadays, Kayla can't take a few steps without getting winded.

Last month doctors put her on a waiting list for a double lung transplant at University of Washington.

Kayla's mother says the clock is ticking.

"Once you are on the list, the expected life span is two years," said Lori Healy Manens. "My kid is too awesome not to get the lungs, if I could give her mine I would."

If Healy is lucky enough to get the transplant, the surgery comes with incredible risks.

"It terrifies me, it keeps me up at night."

No one knows that fear better than Tina Jensen. She organized today's walk. She lost her son three years ago from Cystic Fibrosis.

"Greg had a transplant when he was 10 and then lived 11 more wonderful years. The Healy's have a long road ahead, but Kayla will be so much better once she has the operation," said Jensen.

Kayla says she's not afraid. She wants to get back to doing everything she loves.

"I have lived with this my whole life. I want to sing, I want to go for a jog. I am a fighter like my mom," said Kayla.

The Healy's insurance will not cover all of her expenses associated with the transplant.

To date, Jackson High School students have raised $13,000. The cost for a double lung transplant is between $600,000- $1,000,000. For more information on how to donate click here.

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