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Laguna Beach

 Volume 13, Issue 76  |  September 21, 2021

Kelly Perkins sponsors blood drive at Main Beach on September 22

On Wednesday, Sept 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Kelly Perkins, the founder of The Kelly Perkins Moving Hearts Foundation and author of The Climb of My Life, is sponsoring a blood drive at Main Beach. Members of the Laguna Beach Fire Department will attend.

The Red Cross bus will be located at the Cobblestone area. All donors will receive a special treat for their participation. Identification is required to donate. To find out if you are eligible, contact the Red Cross Donor Support Center at (866) 236-3276. 

The backstory to Kelly’s charitable foundation and annual blood drive began in 1992, when she was just 30 years old. Life as she knew it came to an abrupt stop when she found herself in the hospital diagnosed with virally induced idiopathic cardiomyopathy. After an intense life or death three-year struggle, her heart lost its battle with congestive heart failure. On November 20th of 1995, at 34 years old, she was the fortunate recipient of donor heart and donor blood. 

Kelly Perkins climbing

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Kelly climbing El Capitan at Yosemite

However, this life-changing event didn’t hold her back. With her husband Craig by her side, she went on to climb mountains around the world to inspire others and promote organ and blood donation. She became the first ever heart transplant recipient to scale some of the most iconic peaks including Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro, Switzerland’s Matterhorn, and the faces of El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite, just to name a few. 

In 2017, Kelly went back to Africa where she was the keynote speaker for the 50th Anniversary of the first heart transplant, which was performed in 1967 by Dr. Christiaan Barnard at the Groote Schuur Hospital in South Africa. 

Transplantation has come a long way since her surgery; Kelly is nearly 26 years out, which is remarkable given the first recipient only lived 18 days. During her speech Kelly emphasized there was a lot to celebrate, as her being there to share her accomplishments served as a living example of the success of medical professionals who worked tirelessly to make giant steps towards the survival and promising future of people like her. 

Kelly Perkins Red Cross van

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Kelly with husband Craig at 2019 blood drive

Kelly is a seasoned and respected realtor with Compass here in Laguna Beach. Never a day goes by without deep gratitude for her donor. Kelly lives each day to make sure she is “worthy” of the gift of her heart as it could have gone to someone else. 

Kelly said, “I carry her with me and with that comes a big responsibility. There is no ‘pay back’ to a donor or their family, so the only way is to ‘pay it forward’ with promoting organ, tissue, and blood donation.”

Kelly Perkins Heidi

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Heidi Miller donating blood in 2019 

Kelly would not be here today without her donor heart, and as important, donor blood. Had the blood not been available, it would have been two lives lost, the donor heart and Kelly. That pretty much sums up the importance of blood donation. It can be and often is the difference between life and death. 

So, Kelly asks, “Please sign up today to donate.” 

You just roll up your sleeve, relax in a cool bus, eat some snacks, and earn a free T-shirt. But most of all, you will feel the huge satisfaction of knowing you did something out of the kindness of your heart that will make a positive impact for a complete stranger in need. 

To schedule an appointment, click here or contact Kelly at (949) 310-3754 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Streamline the donation experience and save up to 15 minutes by visiting to complete pre-donation reading and health history question on the day of the appointment.


Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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