Dave Repsher, nurse wounded in Flight for Life helicopter crash, begins new life with help of kidney donation

Donor and recipient were strangers who both had volunteered at Copper Mountain, now they feel like family

By John Meyer / The Denver Post
Dave Repsher, center, and his wife Amanda, left, talk with Matt Martinez, right, in the Copper Mountain Ski Patrol building Sept. 14, 2017. Dave Repsher, a Flight for Life paramedic/flight nurse and volunteer ski patroller, was critically injured in a Flight for Life helicopter crash in Summit County July 2015 that killed the pilot Patrick Mahany and also critically injured flight nurse Matthew Bowe. Repsher suffered burns on 90% of his body and during his recovery also suffered kidney failure and was on dialysis for over a year waiting for a transplant. Martinez, a fellow volunteer ski patrolman and full-time electrician donated a kidney to Dave in August.
Andy Cross, The Denver Post

COPPER MOUNTAIN — Dave Repsher and Matt Martinez occasionally crossed paths in the years they worked as volunteers at Copper Mountain — Repsher with the ski patrol and Martinez with the mountain safety patrol. But they were just vaguely familiar faces on the ski hill.

Now, Repsher and his wife, Amanda, consider Martinez family, because on Aug. 15, he gave Repsher one of his kidneys.

Repsher, a flight nurse, was on a Flight for Life helicopter that crashed in Frisco on July 3, 2015, and caught fire. Pilot Patrick Mahany was killed. Flight nurse Matthew Bowe was critically injured. Repsher was burned over 90 percent of his body, which quickly led to kidney failure.

His last dialysis treatment was the day before the transplant surgeries at the University of Colorado Hospital.

“It’s just so hard to put into words what this means,” Repsher said Thursday in the ski patrol room at Copper’s base area. “They say donation is the gift of life, and it really is. It’s given us a second chance to hopefully do some of the things that we could do before, get back out there and enjoy life. ‘Thank you’ just doesn’t suffice.”

Repsher and Martinez are still getting to know each other. They have more in common than a kidney and a love of the mountains, Amanda said. They both have giving hearts.

Read the full story on The Denver Post website, click here.

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