Neighbor helps woman in need of liver transplant
Miriam Keith first met her new neighbor, Katlyn Bokhoven, when she lost her new dog, Akira, shortly after moving to Independence last December.
When the pup ran away, Keith suggested that Bokhoven place some of his clothes in the yard, in the hopes that the runaway would follow the scent home.
It worked like clockwork. But that’s far from the most important role Keith played in the life of Bokhoven, who returned from a recent vacation in Mexico suffering from leg cramps.
Bokhoven was quickly transferred from hospital to hospital and last week underwent a liver transplant which was made possible, in part, by hours spent on the phone by Keith, who helped her obtain insurance under the federal law on the maintenance of coverage commonly known as COBRA.
She also raised $ 70,000 which was spent on the operation on a Facebook / GoFundMe page that Keith said “took like wildfire.”
Bokhoven’s boyfriend Tim Fuller said Keith is one of the many people who have helped out with prayer and generosity.
“The people of Pella, Iowa have been so amazing, and I don’t know if you could ever find a better neighbor than Miriam,” said Fuller, from Bokhoven’s bedside at Saint Luke Hospital.
“I just don’t have words to describe the impact she has had on our lives. She keeps saying “Anyone would have done what I did”, but that’s just not true. She did it! She had an impact on our lives and we will always be grateful to her. ”
After spending a few minutes with the longtime Independence resident, it’s easy to see how she started the ball rolling, enjoying the snowballing effect it has had on the life of the 29-year-old who had started a new job and had not yet received insurance. blanket.
“First of all, Katlyn is one of those bubbly people who just light up a room when they walk in,” Keith said. “I did a lot of rescue work with dogs, and when I found out Katlyn’s dog had run away, I told her to put some of her clothes on in the yard – and it worked. She was so happy, and so was I.
A few months later, Bokhoven and Fuller went on vacation to Mexico, where his legs began to swell. The pain became unbearable and when she got home she went to the emergency room.
“They told her she was dehydrated and needed to take Tylenol – it was in April,” Keith said. “She was taking two Tylenol, every four hours, for two and a half weeks, and that led to a new problem.”
Overuse of Tylenol together with other factors can cause problems.
“She only had a few drinks on vacation, but felt too bad to eat,” Keith said, “so it led to her liver failure.”
Bokhoven soon found himself in Saint-Luc, needing a liver transplant. And that’s when Keith kicked in.
“She didn’t have insurance because she hadn’t worked in her new job, and she needed the money, so I started making phone calls and contacting people through Facebook,” he said. Keith said.
She received a replay from an insurance broker in Saint-Louis, who explained how Bokhoven would be eligible for insurance under COBRA.
“If I hadn’t received that phone call I don’t know what I would have done – it was a gift from God,” she said. “It really was.”
She also launched the Facebook / GoFundMe page.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Keith said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I didn’t expect it. You know, you hear the world is such a terrible place, but there are a lot of good people out there. ”
And her husband Patrick met one recently, which brought tears to Keith’s eyes as she opened up about a meeting that “was meant to be.”
“My husband works as an Uber driver, and he picked up a young woman and they started talking, and she said she was a nurse in the St. Luke’s transplant unit,” Keith said.
He soon found out that she was on duty when Bokhoven received her transplant.
“She told my husband that she was supposed to be in his car that day, and when he told me, I couldn’t believe it. It was another divine moment. ”
“And Katlyn – who we heard was in a coma until she had surgery – responds to her family members from Iowa who came to accompany her.”
After a long pause, Keith simply added, “Please don’t try to make a hero out of me. I just did what anyone would do, if they knew someone, like their neighbor, was in trouble.
“I’ve been in situations in my life where people have helped me, and I’m just paying the next one.”