When describing their son Drew, Dan and Wanda Lienemann say he had one speed – all-in. Drew didn’t approach things half-way – be it sports, school, his faith or life. Drew was an “A” student, four sport athlete and well-liked by his peers. As a Waukee high school athlete and in the classroom, he had embraced the “Warrior” commitment to excel and give his best for the benefit of all.
In January 2016, the Lienemann’s lives changed when Drew attempted to take his own life. When faced with a whirlwind of decisions, Dan and Wanda remembered when their son turned 16, got his driver’s license and indicated his desire to be an organ donor. Seeing this as another way Drew could continue helping others, they followed through with his request.
Drew’s donated organs provided a second chance at life. His cornea’s allowed people losing their eyesight a chance to see. Other donations, including tissue, have improved the quality of life for recipients. Through transplantation, Drew has already impacted the lives of more than 100 individuals, and there could be more.
As a result of their personal situation, the Lienneman’s have become advocates, advising parents to seek help if they have a child who may be struggling with life’s pressures. They also speak out in support of organ donation.
Dan and Wanda shared Drew’s story as part of this year’s Donate Life ecumenical service, which is held annually to honor donors and recipients. Drew’s story will continue to be shared as part of the Mercy Transplant Center’s Faces of Transplant display on second floor in the West Medical Plaza.
The Lienemann family, pictured left to right: Rebecca, Dan, Wanda and Drew, front: Rachel.