The Next 15 Minutes, by Kim Kircher – A Book Review and Giveaway by

During their first year of marriage, Kim and John Kircher had to face the unfaceable. Diagnosed with a rare form of bile duct cancer, John needed a liver transplant. When the doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota laid out the facts, they made it clear that John didn’t have time to wait for a liver from a deceased donor. That could take up to a year. He needed a live donor and he needed a liver now.

Kim’s memoir, The Next 15 Minutes recounts the year she and John spent waiting for a living donation and her recollections of a life spent throwing bombs, saving lives and sometimes watching life slip away on the ski slopes. It is the story of a professional risk taker who rises at 4:00 a.m. in the worst of weather to ensure safe recreation for thousands of skiers, most of whom never say thank you. It is the story of a daring woman, a woman who has Type-1 diabetes, but has spent her life in the wild, outdoors in extreme conditions, quick access to medical care be damned. It is also a love story, the story of a couple who find true love (and compatibility on skis), only to have life throw a most wicked curve right back at them.

Why 15 Minutes?

Drawing on two decades as a professional ski patroller at Crystal Mountain, in the Cascade Range of Washington, Kim uses her ski patrol training to make it through crises 15 minutes at a time. In emergency medicine and ski patrolling, there is a “golden 15 minutes,” the time when a rapid response can save a life following an accident or a heart attack on the snow. Applied to avalanche victims, the key time frame is again 15 minutes. According to Kircher, “Victims found within the first 15 minutes have about a 90% chance of survival. Double the time under the snow and the rate drops to 30%.”

Living life in the moment and drilling time down into focused 15 minute increments, Kim figured she could make it through anything. Awaiting the doctor’s diagnosis Kircher steels herself, saying “I wasn’t going to panic. I promised myself that. Instead, I could squeeze time into smaller increments, and not try to conquer it all at once. I would try to get through it just fifteen minutes at a time.”

Running Out of Time

As time rolls on, the minutes piling into hours, the hours into days, then weeks, and then months, each volunteer donor is found unsuitable, and the tension in the Kirchers’ lives mounts, as does the desperation. Outwardly, Kim tries to project strength and optimism. Inwardly, she falls apart.

“Maybe I can’t do this anymore,” she writes. “For the past few months, every new donor was like a scaffold that I could build on. If not that one, then there would be another one. A whole list of waiting donors pointed like an arrow in the direction of travel. I knew where I had to go. With each rejected donor that arrow grew shorter and shorter until there was just one left. ” To Read More and Get in on the Giveaway Please click here