Eagle Valley High School teacher Dave Scott got a new kidney on Monday
The donor is District Attorney Heidi McCollum
Dave Scott has a new lease on life.
Scott, a retired teacher at Eagle Valley High School, had kidney transplant surgery Monday. The donor is 5th Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum, who has known Scott pretty much her whole life. McCollum’s father, George, is also a retired Eagle Valley teacher.
Dave’s wife, Susan — also a longtime teacher at Eagle Valley — provided a quick rundown on the story as Dave was starting to prep for Monday’s dual procedures.
McCollum was first into the operating room, with her procedure scheduled for noon. Dave was set for his procedure to start at 1 p.m.
But Susan said the story starts in North Carolina a couple of years ago, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and leads back to the valley and Denver with a team of doctors and other professionals.
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Dave was eventually diagnosed with kidney disease, and the only treatment was a transplant. But, Susan said, doctors told the couple that Dave wouldn’t live long enough for a traditional donation, from a freshly deceased person. That wait can be years, and Dave didn’t have years.
The option, they were told, was a living donor.
Susan said she and Dave quickly decided they wouldn’t ask family or friends for a donation. It’s a lot to ask, even of family. Further complicating matters is Dave’s fairly rare blood type.
But word got around, as it does in small communities. And the community responded.
Susan said she expected perhaps a dozen people to attend an event for Dave at Seven Hermits Brewery in Eagle. More than 300 people came.
Jennifer Wright, a former teacher at Eagle Valley, organized Team Dave Scott as a way to repay Dave for getting help when she had a heart attack at school.
“She’s like an adopted daughter,” Susan said.
As word spread, Susan said a number of people offered to be a donor if they could.
The University of Colorado Medical Center was “overwhelmed” with 22 people signing up to be donors.
One of those people was McCollum. But the Scotts didn’t hear back from her.
What they didn’t know was that McCollum was spending a lot of time being tested — and tested some more — as a potential match.
“She called us, and said ‘I just wanted to let you know, I’m a match — I’m ready to go.'”
Dave and Susan have been married 44 years. Both are looking forward to still more time together, with their adult children Mariah and Blake, as well as three grandchildren.
“It’s a miracle,” Dave said. “I’m so humbled and thankful. She stepped forward and saved my life.”
You can follow Dave Scott’s surgery and recovery at the Team Dave Scott website.