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Logan's Gift: Minnesota, Iowa Families Connected Through Organ Donation

January 28, 2018 11:02 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- When 15-year-old Logan Luft died from his injuries stemming from an ATV crash last July, his family knew he wanted to be an organ donor. It wasn't something they were very familiar with at the time, but now they've become donation advocates after seeing the impact of his gift on others.

Sunday, the Lufts met with the Westby family, whose daughter Faith received Logan's liver. It was a gift that saved her life, her family said.

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The meeting all started with a Facebook message shortly after Logan's death.

"We started going back through some of the posts that were on Facebook and we found that someone had made a comment about knowing somebody in their town, a young girl who had received a liver," Logan's mom Wendy said.

That girl was Faith, who lives in a small western Minnesota town called Pelican Rapids, more than five-and-a-half hours away from the Lufts in Charles City, Iowa.

During an annual checkup after a heart surgery as a young girl, Faith's doctors made a surprising discovery.

"She was diagnosed with a large atypical adenoma in the left side of her liver, and the right side of her liver had quite a few adenomas as well," Faith's mom Jeannie said.

The Westbys registered Faith on the donation list in the hopes of finding her a new liver. Then, on July 7, two days after Logan died, they received the call they had been waiting for.

At the time, the Westbys only knew the liver came from someone in the tri-state area, but while watching an ABC 6 News broadcast while recovering at Mayo Clinic, they saw Logan's story.

"We were at St. Mary's and that's when our wheels started turning thinking possibly could this be," Jeannie said.

After that, Wendy sent Jeannie a Facebook message, and the two moms learned of the connection they now shared.

"It was the most terrifying and exciting thing I've ever had to happen to us," Wendy said.

At first, the Westbys were hesitant to respond.

"I think it just scared us that what if, what if they don't like us, what if they don't feel we're taking care of Logan as well as we should," Jeannie said.

Another factor caused Jeannie to pause before reaching out.

"One of our greatest fears also of accepting to meet the Lufts was will they be disappointed that the organ that their son gave went to a special needs child," she said. "The minute I talked to Wendy, that fear was gone."

Now, the Lufts and Westbys call each other their "second families" and have welcomed each other into their lives. It's all thanks to Logan's gift.

"It's an unbelievably emotional roller coaster that you're on because you're so grateful and you're so sorry, and there's an unbelievable amount of guilt that you feel for your child surviving, but meeting the Lufts has completely made that so much better," Jeannie said.

"For us, every time we're with her and her family, we get to be with Logan, and that's a gift," Wendy said. "We have,  have given them the gift of life through Logan's liver, but they've given us the gift of hope, knowing that we have somebody we get to hang on to."

According to Donate Life America, 22 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant. If you'd like to become an organ donor, visit www.donatelife.net/register/ 


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Logan Reigstad

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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