She received the gift of life, hope; now she gives back
Lehmann currently serves as executive director of the Nora's Gift Foundation, a local nonprofit organization founded by Doctors Osama and Lillian Gaber in memory of their daughter, Nora. Later this year, the foundation will open a 12,000-square-foot housing facility, called Nora's Home, which will provide affordable lodging for Texas Medical Center transplant patients.
"I had a transplant two and a half years ago," Lehmann said. "I didn't live far from the Med Center, but I witnessed so many of the patients that had driven in and didn't have the financial resources. The need is there."
Through her work with the Nora's Gift Foundation and Nora's Home, Lehmann hopes to raise awareness of the issues facing transplant patients, as well as the need for a donor registry.
"Organ failure, these days, is not a death sentence; it's just a different chapter (of life) with parts that you didn't plan on reading," she said. "I would like to be an example that shows that a transplant can give a new beginning, and the gift of life is truly amazing. Now that I'm heading up Nora's Home, I'm able to give back, which is a gift in itself."
Lehmann has a tangible passion for life and describes every birthday since her transplant as "magical." She credits her recovery, in part, to eating well, staying active and relying on a strong support system of family and friends.
"I feel that I bought time to avoid total (kidney) failure for years by eating well and exercising, and by surrounding (myself) with a good support system," Lehmann said. "I'm blessed with family and friends that were always by my side."
When she's not performing her duties as executive director of the Nora's Gift Foundation, Lehmann enjoys hiking and golf, and participates in a wide variety other athletic activities.
"Six months after my transplant, I did a triathlon," she said. "I also did the MS-150 last spring, which was the 150-mile bike ride to Houston. I do yoga, and I'm training for a half-marathon this month."
For more information on the Nora's Gift Foundation and Nora's Home, or to make a donation, call 713-360-9309, email executive director Kayla Lehmann at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.norashome.org. You can also connect with the Nora's Gift Foundation and Nora's Home on Facebook and Twitter.
ABOUT Kayla Lehmann
OCCUPATION: Executive director of the Nora's Gift Foundation and Nora's Home
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Tanglewood resident
FAST FACT: Lehmann enjoys knitting
Megan Mattingly-Arthur is a freelance writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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