Sometimes tragic events trigger impactful results. Logan Luft, 15, was fatally injured in a Fourth of July ATV accident in 2017. The youth had chosen to be an organ donor, as shown on his minor’s driver’s license. Upon his death, his organs saved five lives and his tissue and bones helped another 21.
“He chose to be an organ donor—a discussed choice with us,” says Logan’s mother, Wendy. “Then a year later he died.” A 15-year-old Minnesota girl received his liver. A 7-year-old Kentucky girl his heart. A 3-year-old girl a kidney. A 39-year old man another kidney and a 52 year-old woman from North Dakota the pancreas.
Wendy and Lenny Luft have met them all.
Logan didn’t need the organs anymore, says Wendy. “If we buried them that day they’d be gone forever. Now we get to see these kids grow up and embrace their future. Life doesn’t end at death,” she says, noting the families that received Logan’s organs have embraced the Lufts.
The mother of the girl who received Logan’s liver said, “From here on out this little girl is as much yours as ours now.”
For me “It gave me a sense that Logan is still with me,” says Wendy. “It’s a feeling of never having to say goodbye to Logan. When you lose a child you want something to live on. More importantly, he is in five people and 21 tissue and bone donations in 21 different people from New York to Georgia in seven states. If that is not an impact, I don’t know what is.”
Logan’s father, Lenny, says, “It has gotten us through to this point and day. It helped us get through. We have purpose and hope. For us it’s everything. I can’t hammer that enough. When someone loses someone to have the same sense of hope we have now” from giving life to others. “If others can have that too, it helps them through the grieving process. Without it they would still be locked into the past. We’ve gotten a little past it. Hope and purpose has come full circle.”
It was Lenny, a Charles City police officer, who heard on the radio while cruising the city that Minnesota had passed an organ donor law for anglers and hunters. The Lufts got to work. It was a perfect fit since Logan was such an avid hunter and angler. They got in touch with their legislators.
Logan started hunting young and shot his first buck at age 10. Two years later, father and son both shot their first turkeys on the same day together. He loved fishing and started a fishing club at school. Wendy says Logan’s life goal was to work for the Iowa DNR.
And now with Logan’s Law, he will be in a way. Iowans will be asked when they purchase a hunting or fishing license if they would like to be an organ donor. The Lufts say that will save lives through increased awareness as DNR licenses are renewed annually versus 8 years for driver’s licenses. The law also will add organ donation education into the hunter’s safety education course. Currently, nearly 600 Iowans are awaiting organ donation, including a DNR employee.
“Iowans are the most giving and compassionate people I know,” says Wendy. “This law is just one more way we can show what it’s like to be a giving person in the state of Iowa. It leaves a legacy.”
The law becomes effective later this summer. But there is no need to wait. Save a life and give your grieving loved ones hope and purpose too.
Visit iowadonornetwork.org to register or learn more.