Sarah Coughlin is graduating from the College of Arts & Media on May 12 just a year after donating a kidney to save her sister’s life.

Last spring, Coughlin’s sister Kaylah was re-diagnosed with kidney failure and needed a second transplant. That’s when Sarah stepped up to offer her left kidney. In the process of recovering, Sarah ended up missing only a week of school.

She started her studies at CU Denver because of the program available in piano performance that focuses on classical to contemporary music. Now, as a new graduate, she’s planning on taking a year off to teach lessons privately. Then she wants to return to school to earn a masters in either music theory or music therapy.

This young musician says she found the faculty on campus were a tremendous help and a huge inspiration. “There are so many that inspired me,” Coughlin said, “I can’t even name just one individual.”

Apparently, the ‘music’ was always there, but quietly as she started her college career majoring in math, and she hadn’t played piano since she was a kid. Then she began taking lessons again at 19 and ‘caught the fire’ to resume her pursuit of the piano full-time.

She recently completed her senior recital to rave reviews. “I tried to fight it but I have found out where my passion lies,” said Coughlin.

“I know my road here has been kind of crazy but I’m glad, my relationship with my family is so much stronger and my sister is healthier than ever. I wouldn’t change my path at all.”

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