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Indiana Donor Network reaches milestone while honoring memory of donor heroes

Posted at 9:02 AM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 09:02:25-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Donor Network helps families go from hurting and heartbroken to healing.

After reaching their latest milestone they are on pace to save even more lives than ever.

“You always tell your kids you’re going to do great things, you always believe in your children. But this one, I looked her dead in her eyes from the day she was born, and I said, 'my goodness, little one you are going to do big things.' And I truly (had) no idea how big she would do things,” said Sherry Leeman.

This mother knew from day one that her daughter Emma Grace would change lives, so when tragedy struck just seven days after her first birthday in 2018 the plan switched to save someone else’s life.

“The blow to her head was just too much and she would never wake up again,” said Leeman.

“Other people have been in this position, or they are in this position, 'how can we help them?' We asked if Emma Grace would qualify to be an organ donor,” said Leeman.

“It made sense that if we were crying and begging that something could be done to save her life, then other moms and dads crying with their face in their hands praying for a miracle for their kid; we were sitting on a miracle for other kids,” said Leeman.

It's because of families like this one that the Indiana Donor Network can celebrate 504 organ transplants being completed in the first half of 2021.

“Sometimes recipients get multiple organs, maybe like a pancreas and a kidney, or a liver and a kidney, we say 504 organ transplants, that’s not necessarily into 504 individuals,” said Indiana Donor Network CEO Kellie Tremain.

That number puts them on pace to increase organs transplanted by nearly 50% since 2019.

“What better way to honor them than to make them a hero in their last days,” said Leeman.

For this family, Emma Grace lives on.

“She loved fried rice. She just learned how to run,” said Leeman.

“Life goes on now through three other people,” said Leeman.

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