When competitive cheerleader and dancer Katlyn Scott, the daughter of Davey Foreman Billy Scott, visited the doctor for a required heart screening, she discovered she had cardiomyopathy. Although the disease presents very few—if any—symptoms, it could cause heart failure at any time.
In an effort to prevent future complications, Katlyn received a heart transplant at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Although it’s not necessarily common for organ transplant recipients to meet their donor or their donor’s family, the parents of Katlyn’s donor happened to be living nearby in an adjacent town.
After spending eight weeks recuperating in the hospital and another six weeks completing physical therapy, Katlyn decided she wanted to plant a memorial tree in her donor’s parents’ backyard.
Billy, who works at Davey’s Northeast Detroit residential tree services office, is married to Amy, the niece of District Manager Dave Bargerstock. Bargerstock donated the tree to Katlyn’s donor’s family.
“We can’t thank him enough,” Billy says. “It meant a lot to her to be able to give a small gift back to a family who gave her the gift of life.”
“We plan to start a non-profit program to continue planting trees at organ donors’ homes,” Billy says, adding he will apply for 501(c) status.
Although Billy’s not sure whether Katlyn is just as much of a true “tree nerd” as he, they continue to enjoy outdoor activities together when Katlyn isn’t busy with the cheerleading and dance competitions at which she continues to excel.
More information about Billy and Katlyn’s non-profit program can be found on the Katlyn’s Krew Facebook page.