One dancer. Three lives saved.
“Kristen died one month after her 13th birthday. At that time, despite persistent and
often severe asthma, she was taking five dance classes a week. She was two days away from her Spring orchestra concert in which she played violin. She was in rehearsal as Rosalind in “As You Like It” for the school district’s Gifted and Talented Program Shakespeare Festival. She left behind volumes of sketch books and notebooks filled with costume designs, stories, drawings and poetry. Even when she was ill, she would nest on the sofa with a sketch book, watching old Gene Kelly movies, redesigning the costumes and dreaming of Paris. When she felt better, she’d get up and recreate Gene’s choreography, adding her own moves. Kristen relentlessly practiced French and was trying to teach herself Italian because she was writing a story in which the protagonist was a teenage girl in medieval Italy
and she wanted her story to be authentic. She loved books, music, painting, dance and, most of all, the theatre. She did not love math. Creativity flowed from the deepest part of her soul and was the fuel that kept her alive. Kristen was an artist and a bold one.” ~ Annie Norris, Kristen’s mother
“My biggest fear after she died was that she would be forgotten, that all she was and all she created in her short life would vanish with her physical existence.” ~ Annie
Kristen’s donation saved the lives of three people. Peter, married for 30 years with two grown children, received her liver. Elise, a gospel singer in her 30’s, in end stage renal failure, received her left kidney and pancreas, completely correcting her diabetes. Alfredo, born with a congenital kidney disease, received Kristen’s right kidney when he was only 8 years old. Her heart valves and corneas were also transplanted,
extending and enhancing the lives of her recipients.
“Our daughter had a very broad definition of family. Her family has now extended beyond what even she could imagine. And she could imagine a lot. She is part of these three families in a very real way – physically, emotionally, even spiritually. Kristen is now woven into their stories, the ones that are told over and over and passed down. Alfredo has been able to grow up with his twin brother. Elise recently got married.
Peter is now playing with his first grandchild. They wouldn’t have been able to do that without Kristen’s gift. I no longer worry that she’ll be forgotten.” ~ Annie