Fundraiser for Kelley Kalafatich: $23,000 Success

In October of this year, Coloma local Kelley Kalafatich was hospitalized and diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare virus which paralyzed her from the waist down. Hospitalized since, she is undergoing intensive physical therapy in hopes of recovering some mobility. Kelley is a graduate of El Dorado High School, and became a river guide soon after. Her outdoorswoman and river guide skills have gained her employment in Arizona, Alaska, South America, Central America and Africa. She was the stunt double for Meryl Streepin the film “The River Wild,” and co-produced her own film, “Three women, Three Hundred Miles.” Her phenomenal worldly accomplishments are surpassed only by her gracious humility, generosity, kindness, and loyalty to friends. After release from the hospital she will reside in Fair Oaks with her boyfriend Kurt, and her furry four-legged friend Wilbur.

There was a fundraiser for Kelley on Sunday, December 9. Event Planners were pleasantly overwhelmed by 225 people who attended a dinner and auction hosted by the Sierra Nevada House. Special thanks go to Howard Penn, who donated the dinner, the staff, and the facility. A longtime friend of Kelley’s, Howard made friends of everyone by serving celebratory shots to all the volunteers at the end of the night, a more generous host I’ve never met. The Event Chairperson, Janice Stanley, did an outstanding job orchestrating over 30 volunteers and 75 product donors in just 3 weeks to make this event successful. Thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, donors, and attendees who stepped up; the list of supporters is too long to recount here! Kelley has clearly touched many people’s lives, I’m certain she feels grateful for each and every act of generosity. Our community is lucky to have her, many people who attended the event who didn’t even know Kelley. Yet we all left with a warm sense of security having seen our community take action when the need arises.
To check for updates on Kelley’s condition go to

7 thoughts on “Fundraiser for Kelley Kalafatich: $23,000 Success

  1. Greetings From Australia,

    I just heard about Kelly’s condition and wanted to send my love and support. She is such an inspirational person who always has kind word and smile for all. You will be in our prayers. Stay strong Kelly!

    Warmest Regards,
    Ryan Wood

  2. Hi Kelley,
    I just heard about your condition from my sister and wanted to send you my support and best wishes for a swift, full recovery. I’ve admired your spirit of adventure and the enthusiasm with which you embrace new challenges ever since we were in high school. I trust that you’ll conquer this new challenge in similar fashion to all those that have come before. You are an inspiration to many, even those of us who could only watch from afar and say “I knew her when…”
    Best of luck,
    Kevin Couch

  3. My partner & I were given your video “3 Women 300 Miles” by Sue Barstow (AZ). We were so taken by your photography and the courage displayed by you, Julie & Rebecca. My partner’s daughter had done this trip a couple weeks ago (raft) and was so excited by it.
    We returned the video to Shay, Sue’s partner, this morning and that’s when she told us about your illness. We send our support and our wishes for full recovery. You are an exceptional woman and we know that you have the stregth, willpower and courage to fight and beat this situation.
    Thank you for sharing your incredible trip with us.

    Roz Katz and Judy Bernstein
    Apache Junction & Lakeside, AZ

  4. Hi Kelley,
    My husband (Tony Dunn) and I heard about you from my sister Kitty. Tony’s memories from grade school and our memories from high school are you being a friendly, nice, athletic, determined and accomplished woman!
    I want you to know Tony and I are thinking and praying for you and wish you a speedy recovery.
    Get Well Soon!! Julie Dunn

  5. Hi Kelley,
    I hope you the best of luck, I know how hard it is for you because I too have Transerve Myelitis. Right now I’m nowhere near okay. My doctors let me down, but I’m not going to let me down. You give me hope. Thank you.

    Rosemead CA

  6. This is going to sound too good to be true, but there's a non-drug nutrition product that has helped SO many people who have given up hope on finding anything that works. It has answered many prayers!. Let me know if you want more info. Meantime, God Bless You.
    Fran Christensen 530-409-8974,

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