Kelly's story


Are you happy? That’s what Kelly wants to find out soon after you meet her. 

Kelly lives at Armour House, one of our ten residential care homes in Wisconsin. She has an intellectual disability, meaning that she thinks like a two-year-old, in a 42-year-old body.

While Kelly’s natural playfulness usually prevailed during her four-year struggle with kidney issues, it was dampened by a regimen of lifesaving dialysis and then the agonizing wait for a transplant. To everyone’s credit, there was no discrimination against Kelly as she inched her way up the transplant list. Finally, it was her turn to get the lifesaving transplant in 2014.

After a couple of false starts and mad dashes between Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, a perfect match donor was identified and UW medical staff‑ went to work. Four years after the operation, Kelly’s new kidney is functioning just fine.

“The VOA personal care workers are terrific,” says Kelly’s mother Anne. “And we are especially grateful to Laura Syverson, for her ongoing love and care for Kelly.”