Kaye McGill: ‘Just keep on living’

Downtown York resident Kaye McGill’s positive attitude has kept her going through a life of ups and downs.

Presented by: SpiriTrust Lutheran
Written by: Anthony Machcinski
Kaye McGill (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

Kaye McGill’s two-room apartment is full of life – Catholic imagery hang the walls of the apartment, photos of her family line the refrigerator and a little fake Christmas tree rests between a pair of cushy recliners.

Her apartment overlooks North Street and, in the summertime, she can see the York Revolution fireworks and can hear music coming from Liquid Hero Brewing Company.

The noises are a common complaint for some residents, but she loves them.

“I just like sitting by the windows and listening to everyone having fun,” Kaye says. “It’s so easy to be negative, and you just don’t do well if you have a negative attitude.”


Kaye’s had a tough life, but her bright smile doesn’t show it.

She lost both parents before she turned 25 years old.

Kaye was 33 in 1980 and recently divorced when she was diagnosed with the same kidney disease that claimed her father’s life.

“So now what are you going to do with the rest of your life?” a doctor asked. “Are you going to let this get you or are you going to live?”

It’s so easy to be negative, and you just don’t do well if you have a negative attitude.

Kaye McGill

Nearly four decades after the initial diagnosis, Kaye is thriving. She uses a Fitbit on her left wrist to keep her moving during the day and goes swimming a few times per week at the York JCC.

About eight years ago while she was on dialysis for four months and awaiting a kidney transplant, an attendant at the JCC interrupted her swim to tell her she had a call. A kidney was available, and if she hadn’t responded in 10 minutes, it would have moved on.

There were several times when Kaye was on dialysis, where she thought about giving up, but her daughters Sheryl and Jodell and a positive attitude wouldn’t let her.

“You have to really want to live and you have to put effort into it,” Kaye says. “Keep the stress level down – prayers and meditation help with that – and just keep on living.


Among the photos in the 71-year-old’s apartment is a gold-framed 8×10 photo of a broad, bald man with his daughter. The man is Jerry Hall from Winder, Georgia. The night before Kaye received her call, Jerry died of a stroke.

Jerry was an organ donor, and Kaye received his kidney on May 4, 2010. The match between the two was so perfect, that doctors called it a one-in-a-million chance.

“It was truly meant to be,” she says. “They told me I should buy a lottery ticket because this doesn’t happen. I don’t think it was luck; it was divine intervention.”

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SpiriTrust Lutheran provides exceptional health, human and senior living services by supporting persons in achieving an optimal quality of life.


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