Goshen family coping with loss of daughter to cystic fibrosis
Posted: 06/18/2013 at 7:00 am
By: Lydia Sheaks
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Katelyn O’Grady and her boyfriend, Jacob Moreland, pose for a photo about a month before Katelyn passed away from complications related to cystic fibrosis on Sunday, June 16, 2013. (Photo Supplied)
Katelyn O’Grady and her family spend time together in Katelyn’s hospital room. Katelyn O’Grady, 21, of Goshen, died Sunday, June 16, from complications related to cystic fibrosis. (Photo Supplied)
O’Grady died Sunday, June 16, at her Goshen home after fighting the disease most of her life. She was 21 years old. Her family is working through the loss while wondering how to deal with the massive medical bills left in the wake of her illness.
“I thought we were prepared, but we’re not,” Jim O’Grady, Katelyn’s father, said Monday, June 17. “I’ve been off work for the past six weeks. Over the years I’ve had to take a lot of time off work — I never knew if Katelyn’s next breath was going to be her last breath.”
Jim and his wife, Abby, have three other children at home — James Horn, 14; Danielle Horn, 12; and Emma O’Grady, 5. Jim O’Grady also has two adult daughters who don’t live in the area.
The O’Grady family thought they would lose Katelyn last year, when her prognosis looked especially bad. Right around that same time, a new medication received approval from federal regulators, and Katelyn was one of the first patients in the country to take it. The new medication helped Katelyn survive another year, but Jim O’Grady thinks Katelyn was too far along in her illness for the medication to do much more.
“(The medication) gave her another 13 healthy months,” said Jim O’Grady. “She was able to get out and do things she wasn’t able to do before.”
In April, Katelyn went to the hospital with pneumonia. She started to get better with treatment, but in May the infection came back and “this time, she wasn’t getting any better,” said Jim O’Grady.
Abby O’Grady, Katelyn’s stepmother, posted on Facebook in early June that Katelyn was coming home and starting hospice care.
“Katie is comfortable, but is not conscious much at this point,” wrote Abby O’Grady on Facebook June 16. “She is getting every bit of love and care that we can provide for her. I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for all of the support and love that everyone has shown to us over the last few weeks.”
Later that day, Abby posted that Katelyn had passed away.
“She went into death bravely,” Jim O’Grady said Monday, struggling with emotion. “She was a beautiful kid. She loved everyone and everyone loved her. She always had a smile for everyone.”
He added that he was grateful for the support of Katelyn’s boyfriend of six months, Jacob Moreland.
“Jacob gave her happiness I never thought she would know. He was wonderful,” said Jim O’Grady.
Two funds have been set up to help the O’Grady family with bills:
• The Katelyn O’Grady Benefit Fund, Key Bank, 211 N. Main St., Goshen, IN 46526.
• Search for “Katie O’Grady Medical Fund” on www.gofund.me.com.