The life of Sarah Kasunic spanned just 23 years before her untimely death, but her memory will live on as her heart now beats inside the body of a 10-year-old girl.
Kasunic, a travel nurse who had been working in Tennessee, decided early in life that she wanted to be an organ donor. After being involved in a tragic roadside accident, Kasunic’s family made the unanimous decision to honor her request for organ donation.
According to a report from TribLive, Kasunic was involved in a crash on Interstate 40 in Knoxville around 2 a.m. on March 23. She stepped out of her car with a good Samaritan, Ashley Moore, 38, who had also stopped to help her.
Both women were out of their vehicles when they were hit by a passing vehicle. Moore died at the scene and Kasunic was taken to a hospital and placed on life support.
Sadly, Kasunic, described as hardworking, ambitious and fiercely compassionate, was not able to survive her injuries.
Family friends Megan and Matthew Wilson launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover Kasunic’s burial expenses after she passed away, sharing a silver lining that had emerged from her family’s devastating loss:
“With the Kasunic family’s permission, we would like to share uplifting news,” the campaigners wrote. “Sarah’s driver’s license stated that she wished to be an organ donor. A 10 year old child is to receive her heart.”
“It is amazing how despite this tragedy, Sarah was still able to impact and save a life, even after her passing. We, and the Kasunic family, encourage those who are not organ donors to explore this pathway in memory of Sarah, and consider the potential for giving the gift of life.”
Nicholas Kasunic, Sarah’s oldest brother, told the Butler Eagle that the family unanimously agreed to move forward with Sarah’s wish to give life to others as an organ donor.
“It was a very challenging decision to make, but we would encourage people to do that and to have the courage to do that,” Nicholas Kasunic said.
Tom Kasunic, Sarah’s father, said the decision meant he could not be at his daughter’s side during her final moment.
“I wanted to be there when she took her last breath, and you can’t do that with an organ transplant. It was very hard to give that away,” Tom Kasunic said. “They told us 10 or 11 people would benefit from this. Her heart is now in a 10-year-old-girl from Michigan.”
Kasunic earned a nursing degree from Butler County Community College in 2016 and had been enjoying her work as a travel nurse.
She had recently worked with Butler County Community College to establish a scholarship program to help future nursing students with financial aid, an effort her family plans to continue in Kasunic’s honor.
“So many people told us that she changed their lives,” Tom Kasunic added. “Some people referred to her as an angel.”
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