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 www.checkonkk.blogspot.com.