Kaylea Curry’s Family Headed to Pasadena to Honor Her Legacy
Kaylea Curry of Fairbanks, Alaska, was just 10 years old when she died of a medical condition. Amid their profound grief and loss, Kaylea’s parents, Joe and Christy Curry, made the selfless decision to donate Kaylea’s organs to help other families save a loved one. Kaylea changed numerous lives through the donation of her kidney, liver and heart valves. She also restored the sight of two children with the donation of her corneas.
In honor of her lifesaving gifts, Kaylea will be honored at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 2, 2023, where her portrait will be featured on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float. As part of this honor, LifeCenter Northwest will accompany Kaylea’s family to the parade and other special events to honor organ donors and donor families.
“I am deeply moved by Kaylea’s story as well as the strength and courage Kaylea’s family showed by choosing donation during the darkest days of their lives,” said Santokh Gill, President and CEO of LifeCenter Northwest. “The miracle of donation is not possible without the courageous and generous action of our donors and donor families.”
In preparation for the Rose Parade, Kaylea’s family and friends gathered this month in Salcha, Alaska, to complete Kaylea’s floral portrait for the float, also known as a floragraph. This portrait was created by an artist in Pasadena of all organic materials, and the family was able to add the finishing touches to the portrait in Salcha before it was flown back to Pasadena.
The event included Kaylea’s favorite things: Macaroni and cheese, pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, cookies and Life cereal, as well as her books, teddy bear and her beloved copy of the book, “The Legend of Zelda.” The event also included a tie-dye station to make hand-crafted tie-dyed tea towels, because Kaylea loved tye-die patterns! More than 40 members of her family, church and friends attended the event.
Growing up in Fairbanks, Kaylea was part of a large family of seven and inspired them all to walk their own paths and dare to be different. Kaylea was intuitive, quirky and honest.
As sweet as Kaylea was, she was also strong—a fierce spirit. She was outspoken and wanted to be a warrior. Not just any warrior, though; she wanted to be like Link, her hero in the video game “The Legend of Zelda.”
“She wanted to be Link, and definitely not the princess,” says her mother, Christy. “She was a force of nature so much stronger than this earthly body could contain.”
Christy said that Kaylea wasn’t taken in vain. Kaylea’s gift was given from a place of love, faith and hope. It was Kaylea’s final quest as the warrior she embodied, saving the lives of several others.
One of Kaylea’s kidney recipients, Ron, a 59-year-old man from Washington state, wrote a letter to her family expressing his gratitude for Kaylea’s gift that saved him from a lifelong struggle with diabetes. What was even more special about his letter was that he shared his love of books and literature. Kaylea, a bookworm herself, would read four to five books at a time. Her family learned after her passing that Kaylea would donate her books to the school library for others to enjoy.
Another recipient wrote, “Believe me: beautiful Kaylea is here. She lives. She is loved. I did not know her, but she is a part of me now. She is, literally … Hope.”
The Currys are proud of their daughter, who always lived life out loud, and they’re grateful to know that Kaylea made life possible not only for Ron, but also for so many other families.