LARWILL, Ind. (WFFT) -- It’s an act that could save a life, and students at the Whitko Career Academy want to celebrate it.
April is National Donate Life Month and the Student Organ Donor Advocates (SODA) chapter hosted a flag-raising on Monday to honor those who gave and those who received.
One of those who gave was Sherry Leeman.
Her daughter, Emma Grace, died just before her first birthday three years ago.
Leeman and her husband chose to donate her organs, which have helped three people.
“One of those lives could cure cancer, one of those lives could become president,” Leeman said. “The sky is just really the limit.”
The event came on the three-year anniversary of Emma’s death.
Leeman said they wanted to do something special to honor their daughter.
“We wanted it to be more than just a visit to the graveyard,” she said. “And we really wanted to honor her. And the fact that this meeting, this event came today and an opportunity came for us to speak, was really her working again going ‘here Mom, go do this. This’ll be great.’”
Donors like Emma can have a significant impact.
Marti Cooper of the Indiana Donor Network said over 100,000 people are on the organ donor waiting list in the United States.
“One person who’s able to donate their organs and provide tissue grafts for transplants can actually help about 83 people,” Cooper said. “So it’s amazing the difference one person can make”
They help people like Jennifer Krider, who received a new kidney just over a year ago.
“The more donors we have the more lives are saved,” Krider said.
They also help people like Brandon Spice with the National Kidney Foundation in Indiana, who is also a two-time transplant recipient.
“To see these young people out here today raising awareness about the importance of becoming a donor is very touching,” he said.
For Leeman, it’s comforting to know a part of her daughter lives on.
“She doesn’t end. She keeps going and she’ll continue to keep going even as her child recipients grow old and have children of their own,” she said. “That wouldn’t be possible without Emma Grace.”
And she’s right. The sky’s the limit.
“We’ve always told [Emma] she could do anything she wanted to do and now she will,” Leeman said.