“The next 13 sunrises and sunsets were a blur of a hospital, family, tears, hope—and ultimately, the realization that my mom was not going to recover.”
Every year Tracy Cox travels to the west bluff of Mackinac Island to gaze out at clear blue water and the Mackinac Island Bridge. For Tracy, it recaptures a simple moment in time with her mom. Seventeen years ago when Tracy was just 27 and pregnant with her third child, her mother, Linn, suffered a brain aneurysm. Thirteen days later in the midst of incomprehensible grief, Tracy and her family said goodbye. Soon after, they met Gayle, a family services coordinator from Indiana Donor Network, who spoke to them gently and tenderly about the possibility of donating Linn’s organs.
“Gayle was a special angel that day,” Tracy recalls. “It didn’t really matter what she said to me, it was how she made me feel. In our short conversation, she became the bridge, and I knew my mom would want to help others in this final gesture of love.”
Linn saved the lives of four people through the gift of her heart, both kidneys and her liver. Tracy was able to meet one of her mom’s kidney recipients, which she says “meant so much to see her gift in real life.” Today, in light of her own experience with loss and the donation process, Tracy guides families through similar journeys as an Indiana Donor Network family services coordinator.
“I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life,” Tracy says. “I want to be a bridge—helping families get through the worst day of their lives and feel the peace that comes from knowing their loved one lives on, leaving an incredible legacy.”