HometownBell County


Family reflects on how an organ donation saved daughter's life

Posted at 7:34 AM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 08:34:44-04

TEMPLE, Texas — National donate life month is celebrated every April, raising awareness about organ, blood and tissue donations and how many lives can be saved when becoming a donor.

The Sebek family received the gift of a liver for their daughter years ago, but even now they continue to thank their donor every single day that they get to spend with their daughter.

"The first year of her life, was so drastically different than what it is now,” Chance Sebek said.

From the day Rowan was born, she suffered from Biliary Atresia, a blockage in the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder, meaning, that as a baby she needed a life-saving liver transplant.

“It was a very surreal experience knowing that we were waiting for someone's life to end to be able to receive that gift for our daughter,” Chance said.

Both of Rowan’s parents Chance and Megan were ICU nurses, and they never would have thought that their daughter would be in one of the life-altering situations that they saw on a daily basis.

“You never think you are going to be on the other side of the bed, your family, your daughter, needing those circumstances,” Chance said.

At five and half months old, their prayers were answered and a donor became available, saving rowans life.

“It’s hard to believe how sick she was to how well she is doing now,” Chance said.

And her family was determined to help Rowan live her life to the fullest. At just 8 years old she participated in the Transplant Olympic Games, competing in her first-ever swim race and getting second place. That was when she fell in love with the sport.

“Knowing now how many strokes there are and the rules. It kind of made me want to get more interested in it and try and do it competitively,” Rowan said.

Now at 11, she swims on a competitive club team and is planning on competing in the 2022 summer transplant Olympic games.

“We are going for the gold,” Chance said.

And every day that rowan gets to spend time with her family and gets the chance to do what she loves, she thinks about her donor.

“I just want to thank my donor in any way possible for giving me a second chance in life and doing all of these amazing things," Rowan said. "I would give anything to see them.”

And the Sebek family has a mission to help spread awareness about organ donation and how it can impact a family.

“At the end of the day we have a walking testament of what the outcome is and we are just unbelievably blessed and God has big plans for rowan and our family,” Chance said.

And to continue to show support for his daughter and other recipients and donors, he will be biking 600 miles. participating in the Lone Star Circle of Life Bike Tour.

“I was doing about 100 miles a week for a long time so there really was never a question about if I was going to do it,” Chance explained.

Over a span of nearly a week, participants will ride hundreds of miles, starting in Waco traveling through different Texas cities and ending in Temple.

“Each stop and each place that we are going throughout Texas, We will be honoring not only donors but recipients as well,” Chance said.

Each of the 12 cyclists has a story related to donation, and chance’s goal is to make it to the end of the event so that he can share his story about his daughter and her fight to live.

“It is to show the world and our area and our community that this is important to us and the opportunities that each individual person can have to save someone’s life is something that we can’t take for granted,” Chance said.