Remembering Anne’s Gift: Nebraska mom’s high-impact organ donation recognized during Donate Life Month

Remembering high-impact donor Anne Juarez.
Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 6:42 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Right now, there are more than 100,000 Americans waiting for life-saving organ transplants. Three hundred of them are in Nebraska.

During April, which is Donate Life Month, Live On Nebraska is honoring organ-donor Anne Juarez. The Nebraska mother’s organ and tissue donation impacted 63 people in 19 states after she died in 2014.

Anne’s death happened suddenly in March of 2014. Her daughter, Ashton Juarez, said she got a call that something was wrong with her mom.

“I got a phone call,” said Ashton, “basically saying come to Lincoln, you need to get here now.”

Ashton is 10/11 Senior Reporter Bayley Bischof’s sister. Anne is their mom.

Anne had had an aneurysm on March 29. Surgery followed, but it wasn’t improving anything. Anne died the next day.

During April, which is Donate Life Month, Live On Nebraska is honoring organ-donor Anne Juarez....
During April, which is Donate Life Month, Live On Nebraska is honoring organ-donor Anne Juarez. The Nebraska mother’s organ and tissue donation impacted 63 people in 19 states after she died in 2014.(Madison Pitsch)

“The nature of this was so sudden,” Bayley said. “One day you had a mom, the next day you didn’t is literally what happened. That’s something we just won’t recover from.”

In a time that was so confusing for Anne’s three daughters-- Ashton, Bayley and Devan-- one thing was certain, Anne wanted to donate her organs.

During April, which is Donate Life Month, Live On Nebraska is honoring organ-donor Anne Juarez....
During April, which is Donate Life Month, Live On Nebraska is honoring organ-donor Anne Juarez. The Nebraska mother’s organ and tissue donation impacted 63 people in 19 states after she died in 2014.(Madison Pitsch)

“We all said goodbye, and as we were doing that they were letting us know that they were making those phone calls,” Ashton said. “It was obviously in that moment hard to hear, but then thinking back on it, it’s really incredible to know that in the moment we were saying goodbye somebody else was getting to celebrate something else that they’d been waiting for for so long.”

During April, which is Donate Life Month, Live On Nebraska is honoring organ-donor Anne Juarez....
During April, which is Donate Life Month, Live On Nebraska is honoring organ-donor Anne Juarez. The Nebraska mother’s organ and tissue donation impacted 63 people in 19 states after she died in 2014.(Madison Pitsch)

Anne’s daughters describe her as a woman who loved life. Anne worked as an emergency room nurse, which her daughters say was what she was meant to do. Bayley and Ashton said she loved to laugh and sing, and she even passed down her love of crochet to her girls.

During April, which is Donate Life Month, Live On Nebraska is honoring organ-donor Anne Juarez....
During April, which is Donate Life Month, Live On Nebraska is honoring organ-donor Anne Juarez. The Nebraska mother’s organ and tissue donation impacted 63 people in 19 states after she died in 2014.(Madison Pitsch)

And from death, Anne gave even more life.

And in giving life, she provided some comfort for Ashton, Bayley and Devan.

During April, which is Donate Life Month, Live On Nebraska is honoring organ-donor Anne Juarez....
During April, which is Donate Life Month, Live On Nebraska is honoring organ-donor Anne Juarez. The Nebraska mother’s organ and tissue donation impacted 63 people in 19 states after she died in 2014.(Madison Pitsch)

“Our lives go on and because of her, other peoples’ lives do too,” Ashton said.

“To be able to hug her one more time, that feeling of safety and security,” Bayley added. “I never doubted she was there for me and never doubted she would be there for me.”

Anne’s daughters said they hope a little bit of their mom’s spirit lives on in each recipient, so like her, they can love life, too.

“It adds a little bit of meaning to something that feels so unfair and meaningless,” Bayley said. “It makes it so we can find a little bit of solace to know that without her, there would be people feeling the same hurt that we are.

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