Steamboat Springs News that a donation jar for a sick infant had been stolen opened the hearts and pocketbooks of many individuals and businesses in Steamboat Springs Tuesday. At the end of the day, some $11,000 had been collected for tiny Kyjah Merrin Burandt.
Kyjah is in dire need of a liver, intestine and colon transplant. She is eligible for the transplants at a hospital in Omaha, Neb. However, the trip and evaluations are expected to cost upwards of $15,000, a princely sum for Kyjah's young parents. Because of that, her family, which is originally from Hayden, set up 10 donation jars around Steamboat Springs. One of those jars, placed at McDonald's, was stolen Monday.
That news was reported in Tuesday's Steamboat Today and money started pouring into the newspaper office.
Kate Burandt, Kyjah's mother, could hardly contain her tears as she told her husband they would be able to make the trip they need to with the money that had been raised.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," she said. "I don't know what else to say. This helps so much."
Steamboat Custom Jewelers, which donated $500, was just one of dozens of local businesses and individuals who called to make sure the stolen money which probably amounted to a couple hundred dollars was replaced.
Local residents made contributions of $5, $500, and one even in excess of $5,000 to help Kyjah. The baby girl was born with gastroschisis, a destructive disorder of the digestive system.
The 11-month-old baby was not expected to survive her first night of life, but with the help of medical professionals at University Hospital, she did. Later treatment at Children's Hospital in Denver and now the added help of Routt County neighbors, have improved her chances of undergoing transplant surgery.
Including the one in Omaha, there are a six transplant centers in the United States that perform the type of surgery little Kyjah needs.
To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 971-4204 or e-mail email@example.com