In July, 2017 18-year-old Jake Knutson learned his kidneys were failing after going to the hospital for a jaw injury. This February his sister Kaylen donated one of her kidneys, saving his life while creating a life-long bond.
On Saturday the Knutson family held a fundraiser in Hokah to help with medical expenses. The community rallied to support the young man that never let the situation get the best of him.
Just three months ago Jake Knutson was fighting for his life on a hospital bed and with the support from his sister, they defeated the illness together.
"There was no question about it, I know that he would do the same for me," Kaylen Knutson, Jake's sister, continues, "we've always been really close, he's my life, he's my everything, he's my brother and anything I could do to save his life, I wish I could do it again if he ever needed one but obviously I can't."
Kaylen made the decision to support her brother when he needed it most, and the fundraiser gave the community of Hokah an opportunity to support them both.
"I'm really blessed, there's no other way to put it," Jake Knutson discloses, "this town has been nothing but loving and supporting and I can't thank it enough. I'll always give back and never forget this town, that's for sure. No matter where I end up Hokah will be the home for sure."
Jake's unrelenting positivity throughout the experience inspired the entire town, but he says his friend Mario's ten-month wait for a heart and lung transplant reminds him of the people still in need of a donation.
"It could be a lot worse. Watching him go through what he had to go through and never having a frown or cry or anything, it just really motivated me to take this and turn this into a positive and just go straight up because that's the only way you're supposed to go right?" Jake Knutson explains.
When asked how people could contribute to his cause after the fundraiser, Jake simply asked people to take an extra moment and consider becoming an organ donor.
If you missed the benefit and would like to help with medical expenses, you can contribute to the Jake Knutson fund at Merchant's Bank in La Crescent.