Life saving gift from one Pittsburg family to another - KOAM TV 7

Life saving gift from one Pittsburg family to another


Kayla Kutz, 42 of Pittsburg, was raised believing in the importance of organ donation.  Her own mom, Becky Rogers, received a liver transplant 2005.

A few weeks ago Kayla passed away.

"I'll definitely miss her cooking," says Kayla's son, Koy.  "She was an amazing cook."

"She was an orthodontics assistant - most of my friends that are in high school have braces," says Kayla's daughter, Loren.  "Everyone would come back and tell me she was the best person they've ever met."

All of Kayla's organs were donated.


Kayla Kutz suffered a stroke from high blood pressure in August and was bound to a wheelchair.

"I slept here on the couch and I had a flashlight, and I would shine it in and watch her just to make sure she wasn't doing anything or getting too close to the edge of the bed," says Becky.

Kayla never recovered.

"She was right at the bathroom door, in her wheelchair, when she seemed to lose consciousness," says Becky.

About two weeks ago, after being flown to KU Medical Center doctors determined Kayla was brain dead.

"I really couldn't accept that fact," Becky says.

"It was almost immediately after my mom passed that we were talking to the organ donator coordinator," says Kayla's son, Koy.


"When that phone rang, 12:30 at night, my first thought is my kids," says Tom Laidler.  "I stumble over that phone and I pick up that phone, and I hear this angel on the other side saying 'Tom this is KU, the coordinator with the transplant, we have something for your wife."

Tom's wife, Debbie, had been suffering from sclerosis and cancer in the liver.

"As long as I've known my mom, she's always putting other people first - she's always thinking of herself last," says Matt Laidler, Tom and Debbie's son.

"She's very caring, a loving person and she would do anything for anyone," says Katie Laidler, Tom and Debbie's daughter, and Koy Kutz's girlfriend.

"I would always just talk to him about my mom being sick and I would apologize - 'I'm so sorry' - feel like I'm always just griping about my mom," says Katie.

"I was grieving for them, just knowing what those kids were going through," Debbie says of Kayla's death.


Koy Kutz talked with his family and decided to donate his mom's liver to Debbie Laidler.

Doctors at KU Medical Center say the transplant surgery was quick - under two hours.  Debbie's recovery was also fast.  She was sent home within five days after surgery.

But Debbie still has to gain enough strength to meet Kayla's family.

"I feel so terrible that their mother is gone and I'm living right now," says Debbie.  "But yet, my daughter tells me they find great comfort in that."

"My mom has a chance to give somebody a second life," says Koy.

"This is what gives me comfort, is that she would be so pleased, knowing, and I really think she does know, how many lives she is going to save with this," says Becky Rogers, Kayla's mom.

Debbie lives, giving back the gift of gratefulness.

"I would like to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for doing this, and I will live my life to the fullest for Kayla," Debbie says.

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