posted on January 31st 2018 in Blog /

There are many types of relationships in the world, but I think the one shared between siblings is something special. I am fortunate enough to have an older brother in my life, but the relationship I had with my younger sister was extra special. We were around each other all the time – and if we weren’t – we were always on the phone – texting or calling each other. It goes without saying that she was by best friend.

Sadly, my sister died at the age of 19 in a tragic fire in January of 2009. The person who I talked to multiple times a day, who I laughed with growing up, who always made me smile, who I shared this special relationship with, was suddenly gone. My friends didn’t know what to say, so they usually said nothing. Co-workers didn’t want to “make me sad” so her name was never spoken. I had to endure so many emotions on my own because no one knew what it was like to lose a sibling, especially so early in life. I struggled each day with being able to grasp the concept that I would no longer be able to do those “sisterly” things.

But in the midst of this tragedy, my sister was able to save three lives through her unselfish decision to be an organ donor. With her donation, my role changed from being her sister, to being a donor sibling. I’m the first to admit that this change was, and continues to be, an incredibly hard journey. But honestly, I don’t know where I would be today if I wasn’t a donor sibling. It truly helps me cope with her death, knowing that a part of her is still living with us, and being able to see her recipients live their lives to the fullest. I’m so proud of my sister and her decision to be an organ donor, and I tell anyone who will listen about the importance of registering as an organ donor. I want there to be peace of mind, even in the smallest amount, for anyone that has to go through losing a loved one, especially a sibling.

Written by: Krista Hardebeck

Left- Jennifer, Right- Krista
Krista and Jennifer