Recently, Gayle Perkins and I met with Mark and Gail Gallagher and heard their journey through the emotions and difficult decisions after losing their daughter. Many survivors find comfort in keeping their loved one’s memory alive by honoring that person’s life and interests. This is true for Mark and Gail in the case of their daughter, Kate.
Kate was 26 years old and engaged to be married when she passed away after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. She was a 2005 graduate of Air Academy High School and attended Pikes Peak Community College where she studied Early Childhood Development. Her love for young children was evident in her professional and volunteer work at YMCA, summer camps and Mothers of Pre-Schoolers programs.
Kate faced each day with a smile as she bravely fought liver disease for seven years while also dealing with the challenge of her learning disabilities. Despite these trials, she didn’t complain even though her pain level required daily medication. Kate’s quick wit brought joy to her family and friends. She loved people and her joy and compassion in life were boundless. Kate’s compassion for others continued even after her life ended here on earth. She was an organ donor, and gave her heart and both kidneys saving three lives. Through her desire to give generously, her compassionate spirit lives on.
Kate’s courage inspired Mark and Gail to honor her memory through a Scholarship Fund to encourage other students with special needs to continue their education. Referred by their advisor, James Thomas, the Gallaghers contacted WaterStone. WaterStone worked with Mark and Gail to set the criteria for scholarship eligibility, application instructions and the selection process. Today, the Kate Gallagher Memorial Fund has already awarded two scholarships to Air Academy resource students.