Families meet after heart valve donation to 1-year-old girl

2-year-old Logan Vanderkleed's heart valve donation to 1-year-old Lillian Wilson saved her life when she was diagnosed with a heart condition.

Posted: Jul 6, 2018 6:14 PM
Updated: Jul 6, 2018 8:44 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)-- Two families are coming together after one child's death is saving another in need.

Logan Vanderkleed's heart valve donation to Lillian Wilson saved her life when she was diagnosed with a heart condition.

Friday afternoon beyond the corn stalks, The Vanderkleed family waited to meet 1-year-old Lillian Wilson, the little girl who received the heart valve from their son Logan.


2-year-old Logan Vanderkleed died after getting his neck trapped in a car window. His mother Lisa Vanderkleed remembers that day at the hospital.

"From the moment it happened, as far as I know, there was no heartbeat and they did CPR," said Lisa. "His father and then the paramedics brought him back but never a true response."

A tragedy his father Drew Vanderkleed said the family is still recovering from but knows they did the right thing.

"It's good to see something good come out of something that is so tragic," said Drew. "If we couldn't have our son, then at least he could help others keep theirs."

Lillian's mother, Sarah Wilson said they did not know who the donation came from but the families happened to connect through a Facebook post.

"Within thirty minutes, I had people writing me on my Facebook page saying hey wait, this sounds like Logan Vanderkleed," said Sarah. "Are they from Indiana?"

And sure enough, it was Logan. Indiana Donor Network connected the families for their first meeting. A five-hour car ride later, coming all the way from Missouri, the families finally met in person.

"It's nice to put a face to it and get to know the family that ultimately gave my daughter life," said Sarah.

And a choice the Vanderkleeds are happy they made.

 "It's the easiest decision to know if you're going to lose somebody," said Lisa "What positive can you have come out of it?"

Logan's mother is expecting another baby boy sometime in December.

The two families will be spending the rest of the weekend together exploring some of Logan's favorite places like the zoo and a frozen yogurt shop.

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