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After she survived COVID, living donor's gift delivers her hope

Three years after COVID changed her life path, one survivor finally has a shot at a real recovery after a living donor made a lifesaving decision to give.

Kim Christiansen

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Published: 5:00 AM MDT May 24, 2023
Updated: 1:41 PM MDT May 25, 2023

Somewhere between desperation and hope sits Barbara Gould and her family.

"It’s sort of the story that never ends," Barbara said. 

A story that took her and those closest to her by surprise.

"I used to live in this world of 'it would never happen to us,' whether it was COVID or car accidents or whatever," said Rebecca Taggart, Barbara's daughter. "And the last three years have been kind of my like a slap in the face that it can absolutely happen to us.” 

Just days after Barbara's COVID diagnosis in 2020, doctors called her the "sickest of the sick." 

Her family was separated from her in the ICU and felt just as isolated and lonely as she did.  

Scared and existing apart, the family relied on patience and hope. Barbara's son Sam Taggart wrote a letter to her as she recovered from COVID in the hospital. 

"Hey Ma, Since you're more awake now, I thought I'd send this letter. I've never been more proud to be your son," Sam wrote. "So when things feel hard and scary, let that rare spirit kick in."

"When I knew I was dying, there were things that I was very sad about missing," Barbara said. 

Credit: kusa
Barbara Gould's family surrounds her as she's flown to UCHealth for lifesaving COVID treatment in 2020.

And yet, fate had other plans for this wife of 37 years, mother of two and grandmother to a new grandbaby – a beautiful baby boy named Sully, after Dr. Breandan Sullivan, a critical care doctor at UCHealth who was one of the surgeons who saved her life as she fought COVID. 

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