Miss Marti's Miracle - Kyle Garlett

By: Larry Hatteberg Email
By: Larry Hatteberg Email

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On Hatteberg’s People tonight, something a little different. I’ll bet many of you will remember one of our former Romper Room teachers here at KAKE – Her name: Miss Marti. Miss Marti was Marti Garlett. Marti was on the air as one of our most popular Romper Room teachers for nine years from 1977 through 1985. She was also an Associate Professor of Education at Friends University.

Since leaving Wichita, Marti has taught on five continents, was the Founding Dean of the Teachers College at Western Governors University in California.

That’s who Marti Garlett is – but this story is really about her son. And it is an incredible story of survival. Marti and her husband Fred raised two sons, Marc and Kyle. In 1989, while at Northwest High School Kyle was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease - Cancer. The cancer went into remission, but then over a period of several years, came back not once, but three times. Just we he thought he had beaten it…it came back again….this time as Leukemia. And if that wasn’t enough, as he fought the deadly disease, one of the drugs he took, damaged his heart. To survive he needed a heart transplant. He had to wait five years, but in 2006 he received a new heart. So after fighting back from four bouts with Cancer and a heart transplant, Kyle is not only well, but very well.

In October he will participate in an Iron Man Contest in Hawaii.. Reporter Curt Sandoval of KABC in Los Angles continues our story.

(KABC Story) Kyle Garlett is on a road no other has seen.

(Kyle) "I have to be the world's most unlikely 'Ironman'."

That's because this was Kyle three years ago, immediately after he received a heart transplant. Come October, he'll step into the waters of Kona, Hawaii in hopes of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and then running a full marathon. If he finishes, he'll become the first heart transplant patient to complete the Hawaii 'Ironman' competition.

(Kyle) "For a decade, I was so conditioned to hold back when I started to…my heart rate would go up when I started to exercise, with the stress, cause I had a weak heart."

His heart was damaged in 1995 by chemotherapy. He had three separate bouts with Hodgkin's disease. By 2001, he was on a heart transplant list. Five and half years later, he got the call that changed his life.

(Kyle) "I want my donor family to know that this heart is being taken care of.

(Curt Sandoval – KABC Reporter) "Consider this. With the transplant, they had to sever all the nerves between his brain and his old heart. When he received his new heart, they could not be reattached."

(Dr. Jon Kobashigawa – Kyle’s Heart Physician) "There is actually no danger. The issue with this donor heart is that it may take a few more minutes to actually get up to that top speed."

Dr. Jon Kobashigawa says Kyle's heart is like an engine in cold weather. It just needs to warm up longer using adrenaline to get it to beat faster. That won't be a problem for a 240 mile endurance event. Kyle says, in a unique way, chemotherapy helped prepare him for the mental discipline of 'staying in the moment'.

(Kyle) "I had to attack each day, as an individual day, and get through that individual treatment and then I could worry about tomorrow…tomorrow."

He certainly has the heart to finish.

(Heartbeat Audio Out)

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