You might remember Jimmy Shea, the gold medalist in the skeleton in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. You might recall he was the third member of his family to compete in the Olympics. His father, Jim, competed in the 1964 Winter Games and his grandfather, Jack, won two gold medals in the 1932 Winter Games.
As far as Mark O. and Kimberly Haroldsen are concerned, there is a fourth Olympian and third gold medalist in the Shea family. That would be Kellee Shea, an emergency-room physician in Park City and Jimmy Shea’s wife.
That’s because the Haroldsens believe she saved Kimberly’s life.
On May 30, Kimberly Haroldsen was unconscious for six hours while surgeon Douglas Mathisen performed the delicate operation of cutting into her throat to correct a rare disease called tracheal stenosis. But the real story, they say, is what was done by Kellee Shea, a true "gold medal friend."
Kellee Shea, who had treated Kimberly in Park City, took time off work and from her husband and two daughters to fly to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to be with Kimberly as her advocate and spent the first 24 hours after the surgery by Kimberly’s side as she suffered through the worst hours of recovery.
The Haroldsens even had to fight with Kellee to let them pay her airfare to Massachusetts and back.
Then, after three weeks of complete voice rest, Kimberly was given the go-ahead to slowly and softly begin speaking.
She felt well enough that the Haroldsens decided to attend the annual "Savor the Summit" banquet and celebration June 23 that is sponsored by the Park City Area Restaurant Association and features food and drink, as well as entertainment.
Kimberly was having such a good time, she couldn’t stop talking to her friends around the table, then the Haroldsens left early for their Deer Valley condo when her larynx became strained.
At around midnight she woke her husband, Mark, and in a voice that could barely be heard told him she couldn’t breathe and to take her to the hospital. Her voice box had become inflamed and had almost totally shut down her breathing tube.
"Speed limits were broken that night as emotion and adrenaline limits were being pushed to the max," said Mark.
Kimberly was rushed into the hospital when suddenly who should appear but that same "gold medalist friend," Kellee Shea. Within a couple of hours, since Shea knew exactly what the problem was and what to do, Kimberly was stabilized and out of danger.
"Did that coincidence of Dr. Shea being on duty save Kimberly’s life, since she knew exactly what to do?" asks Mark. "One never knows, but does Kellee Shea deserve a ‘gold medal’ for being a ‘gold medal friend’? For sure."
On the map » For the first time in its history, Goblin Valley State Park officially exists, according to Emery County.
"For generations, Goblin Valley was never really anything, making it nothing," said Emery County spokesman Clinton Olsen.
But now, the U.S. Postal Service has given it an address: Goblin Valley Visitor Center, 18630 Goblin Valley Road, Green River, UT 84525.
Now, if it could just get a liquor store.
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