Campbell Family struggles with tragedy
By John Medalen
Wife and Mother was in great shape
Until recently Kathleen Davey led a charmed like with an adoring husband, two beautiful little girls, a large circle of friends and a promising career. The Campbell woman is now fighting for her life after suffering a cardiac arrest and lapsing into a coma a couple of months ago. Doctors have very low expectations for her recovery, but her devoted husband and closest friends refuse to accept anything less than a full recovery for Kathleen
Davey, 37 this July, is a lifelong resident of Santa Clara country. She is married to Mike, whom she calls her soul mate. Her two daughters, Samantha, age 6, and Rachel, age 4, mean the world to her. With a rewarding career and considered a best friend to people she has know since elementary school, Kathleen had everything a young woman could dream of.
On January 24th of this year, that dream came to an abrupt halt when she suffered cardiac arrest while exercising at home. Her breathing stopped for several minutes, depriving her brain of oxygen and putting her into a persistent vegetative state. A large network of family and friends are continually by her side, determined to lead her to a full recovery.
Her husband, Mike Davey, is understandably heart broken. “She is the center of my world and now it is turned upside down. She was the only person I'd turn to when I had trouble and the first person with whom I'd want to share good news. We finish each other's sentences and our individual strengths compliment each other to hide our weaknesses. She is my true love and soul mate. A life without her is just existence.”
Mike wonders how this all came to be. “She worked out, kept good care of her body. How could this happen to her?”
That’s a question that the doctors can’t, and couldn’t, answer. There were some warning signs, but Kathleen addressed them immediately. In November, she had some chest pains. She immediately saw her doctor, but was deemed fit and in ‘Olympic athlete caliber shape.’ In December, she fainted while doing pull-ups. She went to the hospital emergency room, where an EKG apparently showed nothing wrong. For now, Mike is more concerned about her recovery than in the exact cause.
Despite a dire prognosis from her doctors, she continues to make improvements. She moves her legs on her own, and turns her head in the direction of stimulus. On one of Mike’s daily visits, he told Kathleen that he had to leave now. After he left, the nurse said her eyes shone with tears after Mike said he had to go.
Tomorrow’s Newspaper Today
Between caring for his two daughters, working, and visiting Kathleen, Mike sometimes thinks about what could have been done to prevent this tragedy. On that Saturday, her sister Sheila usually calls but delayed to work on her laundry. Mike moved his team’s practice to earlier in the morning to let another team use the gym. Mike’s dad brought bagels over and left 15 minutes before Kathleen arrested. A person can’t help but think a small change could have made a difference.
Rachel saw her mom pass out on the floor after exercising. She immediately went to Samantha, who then called 911 just like her father taught her. The police were there in three minutes and administered CPR, following quickly by paramedics who restarted her heart. She was rushed to Valley Medical Center where her condition was pronounced extremely critical. After two weeks there, she was stable enough to be transferred to Kaiser Santa Clara, where she is today.
Life Long Friendships formed
The youngest of six children, Kathleen’s oldest sister Wendy nicknamed her “Bean” at an early age, and she is still called that by those closest to her. A bright and active child with curly blond hair and blue eyes, she loved the beach and playing outside.
It was at DeVargas elementary school where Kathleen made lifelong friends with Sue Abuhamdeh, Erin Blake, and Michelle Lee Roberts. Erin, Sue, and Kathleen all helped raised each other when their parents had crises.
Abuhamdeh recalls their early years in bits in pieces, but mostly she remembers always being friends. “As we got a little older I remember walking with Bean, friends, her sister Sheila, and Burnt, their dog, to a local store to spend our weekly allowance. When we were a little older, we rode our bikes to the McDonalds and Taco bell. We went to movies, had sleepovers, just regular kid stuff.”
Blake considers Kathleen her best friend. “We spent almost everyday together from the time we were in 4th grade until we graduated high school. After high school, we set out in different direction but we have always stayed in touch sharing our experiences of love, marriage, raising children, and careers. We have shared joy and sorrow, and faced challenges, together.”
Roberts has known Kathleen since the summer of the 6th grade. She remembers spending summers at Kathleen’s house with their other friends, “working on our tans, gabbing, and listening to music.”
As a teenager, Sue got to know Kathleen’s siblings better. “That was one of the great things about Bean's family - if you knew one, you knew them all. They are very special people.” They are so special, in fact, that Kathleen’s oldest brother Joe is now Sue’s husband.
Seduced by candy
Upon completing high school, Kathleen attended De Anza Junior College for two years and then transferred to Santa Clara University, where she majored in Political Science. She met her future husband, Mike Davey during her junior year there. He got her attention by bringing her candy every day. Notoriously shy, Kathleen gathered the courage to ask him out on a date. According to Michelle, “they were attached from the hip after their first date.”
Kathleen completed a Paralegal course after graduation and took a job with a local law firm. Mike completed his teaching credential program, and began teaching and coaching basketball at Saratoga High School. In 1992, Kathleen and Mike were married at the Mission Santa Clara Church. Her sister Sheila remembers it as a beautiful day. “One can’t imagine any couple that was happier on their wedding day.”
The next four years was filled with travel to historical sights planned by Mike and his love of history. After a return from a trip to Europe, Kathleen learned that she was pregnant with their first child, Samantha Michelle. Born in April of 1997, she inherited her mom’s blond curls and her dad’s brown eyes. In May of 1999, they welcomed a second daughter, Rachel Anneto to their family.
A Very Special Person
Kathleen’s closest friends all talk about her warmth and ease, and that people are drawn to her. According to Sue, “I think those qualities, along with her beautiful smile and infectious laugh, are what draw people to her. She has a way of making people feel comfortable and important, and that is a very special quality.” A co-worker recently sent Mike a letter describing Kathleen’s beautiful laugh as a “cross between pixie bells and harp music.”
“She is a very special person and I am fortunate to have her as my best friend. She inspires me to be a better person. It breaks my heart that this has happened to her but I am thankful and will cherish the time that we have together.” Says Blake.
Roberts and Kathleen lost touch after college, but quickly picked up their friendship recently. “As I think of Bean through the years, she has grown as a person and built a wonderful life and family. At the core, she is still the same. She’s always been a great friend.”
Mike’s sister, Kimberly, talks of Kathleen’s selflessness. “One of the essences that make her beautiful was that she was so humble. She wouldn’t like all of this attention. ‘She would want to take care of us instead.”
Abuhamdeh tells of the other relationships Kathleen has nurtured. “You need only meet her daughters to know what kind of mother she is. They are wonderful and silly little girls and they miss their mommy so much. Her husband's undying devotion to her tells you what kind of wife she has been. His whole world has been turned upside down. His heart is broken, yet everyday he tirelessly and tenderly cares for his wife, while constantly fighting a healthcare system that seems to make no sense.”
A foretelling note
Kathleen recently wrote a note to Mike. That note’s has since taken on a completely new meaning.
I was thinking today about how much I love you. Things seem to be crazy lately and we are going in all sorts of directions, but I wanted you to know that you truly are my soul mate and I know how lucky I am to have you.
Whatever the end is this year and the next year brings I know that we can meet any thing that comes our way together. I look forward to our adventure together wherever we end up. I know that I can live anywhere as long as I am with you.
I love you, Bean
How to Help
Mike has been told that stem cell research is now progressing to help brain damaged patients and may help his wife regain her abilities. He asks that anyone who could help Kathleen get into a study to aid her in her journey of recovery to contact him via email at mike.Davey@saratogahigh.org
A Web site updating Kathleen’s progress daily progress can be found at www.saratogahigh.org
W fund to pay for potential medical expenses and her daughter’s educational needs has been established. Checks can be sent to Saratoga High School Davey Family Fund, 20300 Herriman Avenue, Saratoga CA 95070.
Cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in women. Talk to your doctor about warning signs and ways that you can prevent it. You owe it those who love you.
Call the Campbell Police Department at 866-2121 to learn ways to teach your young children how to handle emergencies like calling 911.