Sindy Hansen, Recipient
A River to River Relay Run Inspired by Her Donor
Posted July 25, 2018
Sindy Hansen was running through Pope County in Illinois along Route 147 in April 2018. Part of the 80-mile Illinois River to River Relay from the Mississippi River to the Ohio River on Illinois’ eastern edge, Sindy kept her feet moving along her 3.75-mile leg. Her mind was drawn back to the days immediately following her liver transplant in July 2017 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
“It was hard,” Sindy said, who was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis in 2007. “There were times I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I tried to focus on where I had been. When I was taking those first steps after transplant – they want you to get up pretty soon after surgery, walking the hallways — and I forced myself to walk then. I kept feeling like if I could do that then, then these steps running down the highway shouldn’t be a big deal.”
Sindy was supported by her husband Mike and daughter Olivia at the start of her leg. She was joined on the run by her nephew and members of Simpson Baptist Church. The church has supported Sindy throughout her life. She grew up at Simpson Baptist Church. The night she received the call for her transplant, members of the church paused at a Bible school commencement ceremony to pray for Sindy and her donor.
In fact, the church approved Sindy in the fall of 2017 about her running with them in the 2018 event. Unbeknownst to Sindy, the members of the church were planning to make her leg of the relay an organ and tissue donation awareness run. They made shirts and decorated the chase van. They also handed out information about organ donation.
As Sindy continued on her 3.75-mile, uphill run, she was inspired to continue by her donor. “I am so thankful for my donor family for their selflessness and generosity,” Sindy said. “I do not know the donor who chose to save me, but I think of him and the family every day. Their gift inspires me to keep going and persevering even when things seem difficult. The part of him that lives on in me reminds me not to take this life for granted. I’m glad that I was in some way able to pay tribute to my donor by running in the River to River Relay.”