“When I was being carried on the sled down the mountain, I just kept thinking that I didn’t want to put aside my dream,” Katie said.
She explained to her doctor how badly she wanted to enlist in the military and he worked with her to find a solution that would not cause a medical disqualification.
“My doctor used a ligament allograft so he wouldn’t have to take tissue from another part of my body,” she explained. “After surgery, I pushed myself to the limit and my doctor was very happy with how well I did.”
Though her knee healed completely and she was cleared for enlistment, an unrelated hip injury requiring a hip replacement prevented her from pursuing her army career.
With the military off the table, Katie focused on finding a career that suited her other interests: science and the human body. She knew the ligament in her knee came from a deceased human donor, but she was not aware it was processed at AlloSource, a tissue bank where she applied for a job.
After being hired at AlloSource, Katie looked at her surgery records and found the information on her allograft. She now processes donated human tissue for patients in need of an allograft, just as she once was.
“I’m ecstatic to be working at AlloSource,” said Katie. “This is another way I’m honoring the gift I received. I know how important each step in every process is and it gives me perspective on why we do what we do.”
She looks forward to growing with the company and is grateful to have a job processing donated human tissue to help recipients heal. Being surrounded by tissue donation also causes Katie to pause and reflect on what she would say to her donor, if she could.
“Sometimes I’m just at a loss for words,” she said. “Thank you for thinking of other people. It is such an altruistic thing to do. Receiving my allograft was a huge turning point in my life and it helped me continue to look forward to the future.”