(T-G File Photo by Sadie Fowler) [Order this photo]
Though it has been nearly a month since the Davis family has been to their home in Wheel, Becky Davis, Korley's mother, has made a few trips to the local school where she works to do lesson plans. She's caught a few glimpses of green and yellow ribbons and signs of hope along those evening drives.
"I have come back here at night to work on lesson plans, but I go to school and come right back," Becky said. "I am overwhelmed and so grateful that she is being prayed for by so many ... The bad thing is I don't even know (what fundraisers are being done for her). People are doing things and they are not even asking us."
Becky and Donald, Korley's dad, are thankful for the support of the community. Not only can ribbons be seen on mailboxes, business fronts, jacket lapels and even car grilles, locals are joining forces to plan fundraisers that might lighten the heavy load of medical expenses that the family is rapidly incurring.
So far, an account has been set up in her name at Peoples Bank, located at 1122 North Main St. Benefits are scheduled for Feb. 5 and Feb. 11, and a walking horse show is being planned for this spring.
"She means so much to this community and to Liberty School," said Missy Landers, of the Wheel Community and owner of Missy's Bedford Market, where donations are also being collected for Korley.
Liberty teachers have collected food and gas cards for the family, Community Middle School is holding a can drive, and churches are taking up weekly collections.
Businesses are also doing what they can do, including Duck River Electric Membership Corp. They recently collected enough money to pay the family's utility bill for a few months.
Calsonic has also taken up a collection.
Local day care Little Miracles is collecting items for baskets being made for an upcoming benefit auction.
"She's an inspirational kind of person," said Michelle Bayne of Little Miracles, who is also a cousin of Korley's father. "Regardless of anything ... she always has a smile on her face and is nice ... regardless of the pain or whatever is going on ... We all have something to learn from her."
In addition to the collective efforts, individuals are showing their support for the family by wearing or displaying green and yellow ribbons, and placing signs of support in their yards.
For signs contact Joy Mince at 695-5648. Several local florists are selling ribbons, including Mary's Florist on Lewis Ave., Flowers For Keeps on Union Street and Creative Touch on Fairfield Pike.
Korley has been fighting medical problems with vigor since she was a baby. First, she had leukemia, which she beat. The chemotherapy from that, however, caused lung damage, thus the longtime need for a double lung transplant.
The family experienced disappointment a few weeks ago as Korley wasn't strong enough to receive a transplant when they received a call that lungs had become available.
She has remained in Vanderbilt to regain the strength needed to be put back on the transplant recipient list.
First, Korley was put on a heart and lung bypass machine, which oxygenates the blood and gives her lungs a rest. She was also put on a ventilator, to keep her lungs inflated.
A couple weeks back, Korley received a tracheostomy (a tube inserted through her tracheo to allow her to breathe without using her nose or mouth).
"We thought this would be the best chance to ventilate her lungs and get her off the (heart and lung) bypass machine," Becky said. "We want to get her off that because she can't receive a transplant as long as she is on that."
On Monday, Jan. 24, Becky said doctors were beginning to perform little tests to see how her lungs are functioning. "If those (tests) go OK their plan is to turn off the paralysis and let her body start letting her lungs move and work," Becky said.
Once that takes place, Becky said there is a small window of time (when her lungs are performing at their peak) when the attempt will be made to take Korley off the bypass machine.
"Once that happens her chances for transplant are much better," said Becky, explaining she has close contact with a team in Pittsburgh, Penn., who would be performing the future transplant.
"Of course, God will definitely have to provide those lungs," Becky said. "Our prayer is when those lungs are provided her body will be ready to accept them.
"These doctors here ... many of them have known Korley since she was a baby ... they are trying new things and trying to do the best possible (work) for Korley that they can ... I feel good about this, I really feel good that things are going to work out."
In the meantime, a massive effort is underway by friends of the Davis family who are planning a fundraiser to benefit Korley at 6 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Calsonic Arena. The benefit will include live music, food, and an auction. Tickets are $5 and includes a drink and barbecue. For questions, tickets or to donate auction items call Jeffrey McGee at 703-2098.
"We'll have a 'Kid Zone' with inflateables, pony rides, and face painting," said Jeffrey McGee of Edgemont Baptist Church, who's part of the team planning the Feb. 11 fundraiser.
A prayer vigil will be held during the fundraiser at 7 p.m.
The chili supper benefit, planned for Feb. 5, will be held at the Shiloh Methodist Church (in conjunction with Mount Lebanon UMC, Light House Church, and the Wheel Community). Tickets are $5 and will include gospel singing, supper, silent auction and games (cake walk).
New Bethel is planning a fish fry, though the date and time is to be determined.
A horse show, "Walking for Korley," is being planned for May (for more information contact show manager Allison Smith at 607-2680 or co-manager Ricky Richardson at 492-0188).
For Jeffrey McGee, part of the core group planning the Feb. 11 benefit at Calsonic, jumping on board to help was a no brainer.
"I grew up with Korley's parents," said McGee, who went on to say that another local man, David Orr, who is a two-time double lung transplant recipient, is a member of his church. "We were so helpful when people helped us with David ... this is a pay-it-forward kind of thing."
Though the Davis family is a member of Mount Lebanon United Methodist Church, McGee said churches of all faiths and sizes are coming together to help the Davis family.
"Mount Lebanon does what they can do and we do what we can do," said McGee, who said Edgemont had recently collected $3,400 in offerings for the family. "That's the pretty part of all this ... we are all working together."
It's also helped teach many people how to pray, McGee said, including his children. Because when Korley receives her lungs it is at the expense of someone else, and that is a hard concept for some folks to grasp, he said.
"I tell my kids, it is all in God's hands," McGee said.