To the family of journalists at PEOPLE, 1991 was an annus mirabilis, a year rich in astonishing stories and personalities. Remarkable events were unfolding around the world, from the runaway rout across the deserts of Kuwait to the runaway republics of the Soviet Union. Others played out closer to home—at the U.S. Open, for example, where an aging tennis player made his own kind of miracle.

The person I want to tell you about in this space, though, is someone who came to our attention only recently and only through a letter from a reader. But her story touched us deeply this holiday season. Her name is Katelyn Roglitz, now 1, and she lives in Pittsville, Md., with her mother, Mary, and father, Jay. Earlier this month her mother wrote to us about a cover story we had published a year ago, and...no, let Mary Roglitz tell you what happened:

Dear PEOPLE Magazine Editors:

Thanks to your article "Miracle Baby," about Weston Kilpatrick [Dec. 24, 1990], our daughter's life was saved. Katelyn was born with a very rare heart disease, one which we were told would claim her life. A transplant was never given to us as an option. The only option given to us was to just let her die. On Christmas Eve last year we brought her home to spend what we thought would be our last Christmas with her. That same night my husband saw the front cover of your magazine while standing in a grocery line. As soon as he returned home he called information for the phone number of Loma Linda hospital [near San Bernardino, Calif., where Weston was a patient].

A few weeks later the Roglitzes checked Katelyn into Loma Linda. Ten days after that she received a donor heart. "On Memorial Day," Mary continued, "we arrived back home in Maryland with a happy, healthy little girl. Without the article on Weston, we would not have Katelyn to celebrate Christmas with us this year—a Christmas that will always be remembered as a real miracle."

We think it is a miracle too, Katelyn, and we are warmed in spirit to have been a small part of it. You will be cheered to know that Weston Kilpatrick, the little boy whose story inspired your parents, is on the mend as well. On Oct. 13, Weston, now 18 months, also received a new heart—his own never quite gaining full strength. Plans are for him to be home for good in early 1992.

Finding the warmly human stories that are hidden all around us is a specialty of assistant managing editor Carol Wallace, who this year produced PEOPLE EXTRAS Heroes of the War and Amazing Americans. Helping her create this year-end double issue were senior writer Bonnie Johnson, reporter Denise Lynch, associate picture editor Holly Holden, assisted by Paula Gillen, deputy art director Hilli Pitzer, her associate Phil Simone and her assistant Allan Bintliff. Sums up Wallace about the whole experience: "Stories about how people handle the joys and sorrows in their lives have always moved me. It's rewarding to be able to bring that emotion to our readers."