Losing a family member is never easy but when that person is a small child, it’s even more devastating. But sometimes when we lose the people we love, there are ways that we can help other families from losing their loved ones, for example through organ donation. This story of an incredibly brave little girl who helped save the lives of multiple strangers after she lost her own life is both tragic and heartwarming.
In 2019, a family in Iowa suffered the loss of their 1-year-old child. However, they can take solace in the fact the little girl’s life helped save the lives of two other children and an adult.
Meagan Sobolik and her husband Paul were brave enough to share with the world a video of the moment their baby girl Coralynn was taken into surgery to donate her organs that would go on to save the lives of multiple others. Cora was declared braindead by doctors the day before the video was taken after her small body was unable to fight off a virus.
The video shows the hospital staff lining the hallways as the young girl was taken into the operating room. Some of the staff sang “Amazing Grace” in tribute to Coralynn. Meagan whispered softly into her daughter’s ear. She told her she was on her way to save three lives. She also told her daughter that her mother would love her forever.
The moment is bittersweet but the moving video captures just when little Cora became a hero for multiple other families.
The story begins when Coralynn began having trouble breathing on April 19, 2019. This was the first sign of illness. The Soboliks took their daughter to Cresco Medical Clinic in Iowa but doctors thought she would be more likely to receive the help she needed in Rochester, Minnesota at the Mayo Clinic.
The Mayo Clinic was approximately an hour away and Coralynn had to be sedated and intubated before she could be transferred. During the procedure, her heart stopped beating. It took the medical staff at Cresco 25 minutes to restart the young girl’s heart. She was then transported to Minnesota.
The family was told by doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester that the girl’s heart was fine. To their dismay, however, Coralynn had suffered brain damage. The prognosis was grim. It was unlikely she would wake up and if she did, she would not be the same Coralynn that went to sleep.
Matters got worse later that night when Coralynn’s brain began to swell and a CAT scan was conclusive in finding little Cora would not come back. Coralynn Sobolik was pronounced dead on April 21, 2019. In an interview with People, Meagan said:
“I dropped to my knees and cried and kept saying, ‘No, no, no, God, no.’ I then felt numb and felt empty.”
But despite being in grief at the loss of their infant daughter, the Soboliks weren’t just thinking of themselves. Meagan said in the same interview:
“When we knew that she wasn’t ever going to wake and that she was gone mentally, we knew that she would want her organs to help people in need.”
Once they were aware that Cora would not return mentally, they knew they wanted her organs to help people who needed them. In the end, a 1-year-old boy received Cora’s heart, a 1-year-old girl received her liver and a 41-year-old woman was donated her kidneys. The Soboliks told People:
“She is going to be living on within three different people. She isn’t really gone, she lives on in her legacy.”
Meagan says her reason for filming the moments leading up to Cora’s surgery was for the benefit of family members who were unable to attend. She also said it brought her “comfort” to see her again “and confirm what we did was the right thing to do.”
The grieving mom also spoke about the incredible staff at the Mayo Clinic, who made Cora’s final moments so special:
“The staff at Mayo was more than any family could ask for. I was speechless, and it was truly wonderful to see and feel so much love and support for our little girl.”
She also spoke highly of the doctor who cared for Cora:
“The doctor that took care of her came in on his day off to be the first in line and also the last one to be with us when they shut the elevator doors to take her to surgery.” She added: “The nursing staff was amazing to us … They gave us so much comfort and support while we were there, it was amazing.”
“Even though Coralynn was so young, she made a huge impact on the world,” her obituary read.