October 07, 2011

Recent Hamline Graduate Gives Lifesaving Gift

Koppes_Full

Serious illness is a reality that the Koppes family has faced for more than a decade.

“When I was little it was scary to see my mom going to the hospital all the time,” said Casey Koppes, a 2011 graduate of Hamline University’s College of Liberal Arts.

In 1999, Casey’s mother Laurie was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, which attacks the liver. By 2005, Laurie was in need of a life-saving liver transplant. Laurie has been on a waiting list for a donor for five long years, but she won't have to wait much longer. With still no donor in sight, Laurie's friends and family recently volunteered to be tested to see if any of them would be a match. Casey, Laurie’s youngest daughter, proved to be the best fit.

“It was a shock when I came up as a match,” said Casey. “I’m ready to do this. I want my mom to get better. She has been sick for almost my entire life.”

“Casey has put her life on hold to help save mine,” said Laurie. “As her mom, I worry about her. You’d rather have it be someone other than your own child.”

Casey has long been interested in helping people. At Hamline, Casey majored in sociology and psychology and has a strong interest in social work. Post-recovery, she plans to attend graduate school and fulfill her dream of becoming a psychologist.

While at Hamline, Casey began working on nutrition issues at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Saint Paul—a position she still holds.

“My fondest memories at Hamline are of my FySem and getting to know people,” said Casey.

To help defray the high cost of a double transplant procedure the Koppes’ family is holding a benefit October 15 from 4-8 p.m. at Harding High School in Saint Paul. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Everyone is welcome.

In addition to dinner, the event will feature live music, face painting, a raffle, and a silent auction featuring all sorts of items including an ice fishing house, sports tickets and jerseys, holiday themed items, hair and movie baskets, and numerous gift cards. One raffle winner will win a week stay in Orlando, Florida.

For more information on the Koppes benefit event, contact Kellie Koppes.