Posted on Thu, Dec. 30, 2004

Holiday is a mixture of joy and sadness


Mercury News

Christmas at the Davey home in Campbell was celebrated this year with a mixture of joy and sadness.

Christmas Eve marked 11 months since 38-year-old Kathleen Davey suffered cardiac arrest while exercising in her home. Her daughter Samantha, now 7, dialed 911, and emergency workers were able to restart Davey's heart.

Since then, husband Mike Davey, a teacher and basketball coach at Saratoga High, has been a model of perseverance and strength. He has been at his wife's side every day. Relatives help him raise Samantha and 5-year-old Rachel while he copes with the tragedy.

On Dec. 11, Kathleen Davey, 38, finally came home. She stays in a new addition to their home designed to help with her rehabilitation.

The family is happy to have her home, where Rachel and Samantha can spend time with her in comfortable surroundings.

``The girls hang out and play with their dolls and watch movies on her bed,'' said Mike Davey, 36. ``It gives them a chance to be at home and not in the hospital.

``The community has been unbelievable. They help out with the kids, offer their time and help raise money. It's wonderful to see, it's been beyond my expectations. But I see this as a tragedy.'' Kathleen is still unresponsive and uses a feeding tube, but she has already beaten some odds. After the incident, she was given her last rites, and the family was prepared for her death.

Last week, the Saratoga community rallied around the Daveys as Saratoga held its annual alumni basketball game. Mike Davey served as the referee for 30 former players who returned for a fundraising event that raised $4,500 to help with medical costs. Insurance coverage ended for Kathleen Davey at the beginning of the month.

Mike Davey is coaching again this year, and the Falcons are off to a 10-3 start, including a victory at the Prospect Tournament earlier this month.

``I don't know if there was one moment that I decided I had to coach,'' said Mike Davey, whose father, Dick Davey, is the men's basketball coach at Santa Clara University. ``I just kept going. I told the team I wouldn't be there like I was before, I'm not able to scout like I could before, so they have to mature as a team and take more responsibility.

``It's good for me because of all the unhappy things in my life. It gives me some joy to see the kids playing.''

The basketball community has also taken notice of the Daveys' plight. Friday, the Falcons play at Mountain View, and Spartans Coach Bob Heckmann has turned the game into a fundraiser to help with medical costs. The frosh-soph game begins at noon, with the varsity game set for 1:30 p.m.

All proceeds from the gate and concessions will go to a foundation set up to help with Kathleen Davey's medical costs.

Mike Davey chronicles his wife's rehabilitation in a journal that can be viewed at

On Christmas Eve, he made the following note:

``The greatest loss is Kathleen's influence in our daily lives. She is still here, but her empathy, laugh, sense of humor and excellent advice are sorely missed in this world.''

Contact Dennis Knight at