PROVO, Utah, March 24, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The latest personality to grace the bright yellow National Kidney Foundation of Utah billboard in Utah County is not a local football coach like BYU’s Kalani Sitake or the U’s Kyle Whittingham.
It’s Elsie Mahe, daughter of Brigham Young University’s running back coach, Reno Mahe. Elsie died at age 3 last November after a window blind cord became wrapped around her neck, cutting off her air supply.
Elsie lingered for a few days, but when doctors determined she would never recover, the decision of parents Reno and Sunny Mahe to donate their daughter’s organs ended up saving five lives, according to the billboard erected by the National Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho.
The Kidney Foundation revealed the new billboard on Thursday.
“This is such a beautiful tribute to our Elsie,” said Sunny Mahe, a former BYU volleyball star.
Reno Mahe surprised his wife by showing her the billboard on Thursday afternoon. Her reaction was caught on video and later posted on BYU Football’s Facebook page. Click on the player above to see Sunny’s reaction.
Reno Mahe has also been featured with other coaches on the billboard, and said his children always remarked that “Daddy’s up there” whenever they drove past.
“They called and asked if they could honor my daughter and our decision to donate her organs, and I thought it would be a great tribute to her,” Mahe said. “I thought it would be fun to surprise (Sunny) with it. I knew she would love it.”