2023 Scholarship Winner – Ainsley Strothkamp
July 10, 2023
Indiana Donor Network Foundation awards $8,000 educational scholarship to daughter of local organ donor hero
Carmel High School graduate bound for Purdue University
CARMEL, Ind. – Ainsley Strothkamp enjoyed her sunny trip to Florida in December. She and her soccer teammates, coached by Strothkamp’s dad, Mark, played in a weekend tournament in Orlando.
“He and I always had a special and unspoken bond that was fostered from him being my coach,” she said. “He loved helping us develop on and off the field and sharing his passion for soccer with others.”
But two days after the family returned home to Carmel, tragedy struck. Mark suffered a massive stroke and after six days on mechanical support, doctors told the family he’d never regain consciousness. A family friend with them at the hospital asked if Mark was registered as an organ donor. They didn’t know.
“Thinking about donating my dad’s organs was just too much to bear,” Strothkamp said. Family members discussed their options and ultimately made the decision to donate. But they didn’t have to as Mark was already a registered donor.
“He selflessly made that decision,” she said. “Being an organ donor saves the lives of others. It also provided a sense of purpose and gave us hope as a grieving family. It was comforting to know we knew exactly what my father wanted.”
Strothkamp has been awarded an $8,000 scholarship by Indiana Donor Network Foundation. Each year, the foundation awards educational scholarships to deserving family members of Indiana organ and tissue donors, transplant recipients, living donors and others. Recipients often become advocates for organ and tissue donation. The scholarships are funded by the foundation and contributions by Indiana Donor Network employees.
Those eligible for scholarships include both traditional and nontraditional students who submit an essay describing their career goals, experience with organ and tissue donation and transplantation, and personal goals.
“Although the heartache I feel seems unbearable at times, I know I’m lucky to have had a loving, caring and heroic father for 18 years,” she said. “One day, I will be a successful professional who gives back to the community and spreads positivity.”
Strothkamp, a graduate of Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana, will study engineering at Purdue University beginning this fall.
Other scholarships awarded this year by Indiana Donor Network Foundation went to Faith Curry of Fort Branch ($6,500), Molli Pearson of Chandler ($5,000), Brodie Forman of Corydon ($3,500) and Erica Swaim of Noblesville ($2,000). Read about the other 2023 scholarship winners here.
Indiana Donor Network’s mission is to save and enhance the quality of life through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Its vision is to be a leader in organ and tissue recovery. Founded in 1987, the organization coordinates donation in 85 of the state’s 92 counties and serves transplant hospitals throughout the U.S.
About Indiana Donor Network
The decision to become an organ, tissue and eye donor is a decision to give the gift of life. Indiana Donor Network serves as the vital link between donors and patients waiting for lifesaving organ transplants, healing tissue and corneas to restore sight. The organization is a federally designated organ recovery organization and accredited tissue bank serving 85 of Indiana’s 92 counties. Its team of more than 285 dedicated professionals is committed to saving and healing lives through donation and transplantation, championing the cause through education and outreach and supporting donor families in their time of need.
About Indiana Donor Network Foundation
As a subsidiary of Indiana Donor Network, the organ recovery organization for 85 of Indiana’s 92 counties, Indiana Donor Network Foundation enhances the lives of those touched by donation through education, innovation, caring and support. The Foundation raises funds through individual contributions, special events and sponsorships to support transplant recipients and the families of donor heroes.
Indiana Donor Network® and the Indiana Donor Network Foundation® are federally registered trademarks.
About Donate Life Indiana
Since 1998, Donate Life Indiana has been the state-authorized nonprofit organization responsible for managing the Indiana donor registry. Its mission is to save lives by creating opportunities for all Indiana citizens to sign up on the organization’s official state registry while striving to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation through public education.