Kailee Vigen was not yet two when a Christmas tree needle pierced her right eye. The pine needle had to be surgically removed, and Kailee’s eye became infected. Despite constant monitoring and numerous eye drops, her cornea had trouble healing, and for several years Kailee struggled with recurring infections, swelling, and cloudy vision.
By the time she was six, the vision in Kailee’s damaged eye was greatly reduced. Her cornea had become scarred and remained opaque. Kailee’s best option for restored vision was a cornea transplant.
Kailee received her corneal transplant thanks to a 15- year-old boy’s donation. The transplant was a success, and Kailee’s vision dramatically improved. Now a vibrant 12- year-old, Kailee has been a real trooper throughout her ordeal. Once very shy and nervous around strangers, she is now comfortable with new people. A steady stream of medical appointments over the years made certain of that, and her mother notes that Kailee’s experiences have made her a very strong young lady.
Kailee is active in school and in extracurricular activities, and her transplant allows her to be a kid to the fullest extent. She is currently on her school’s student council and very excited to be so. Kailee participates in volleyball, basketball, track, and softball.
Kailee loves to sing and dance. She is in school choir and sings at various functions in the community. She enjoys participating in talent shows, and one of her most exciting moments was competing at the 2011 state fair in the pre-teen division. Kailee advanced to the finals as one of the top 6 in the state and was asked to perform at other venues.
What does Kailee’s future hold? While she has plenty of time to make up her mind, this abundantly talented girl is torn between pursuing a career as an eye doctor and one as an entertainer. Don’t be surprised if, fifteen-odd years down the line, you hear rumors of a singing ophthalmologist!