Twenty-two month old Super Hero

—Sobolik family doesn’t need Superman, they have Coralynn
RURAL NEW HAMPTON - Easter will never be the same for the Sobolik family. But then again, no holiday or get-together will be the same since Paul and Meagan lost their 22-month-old daughter, Coralynn to para-influenza-stage 3, this past April. In addition, Maycee, age nine, and Oliver, age four, lost their sister.
Coralynn was not feeling well and was taken to Regional Health Services of Howard County on Friday, April 19.
Paul said, “The doctor was there in a couple of minutes. [RHS wasn’t] big enough to handle the troubles, so they sedated her and put in a breathing tube. They lost her and performed CPR for eight minutes. They lost her 2-3 times for a total of 28 minutes.”
She was airlifted to Rochester. A CT scan later showed no brain activity.
Many of the couple’s friends were kept abreast of what was happening via social media. Prayers and words of sympathy poured out for the family. 
Paul explains two scans need to be consistent with no brain wave activity. It was during this time the family asked about organ donation. “The doctors can’t talk about organ donation unless the patient or patient’s family brings it up.”
Once the decision was made to donate, representatives from LifeSource of Minneapolis, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in the Upper Midwest, went to talk to the family.
They explained that as soon as she is pronounced dead, LifeSource takes over all medical bills.
Coralynn was pronounced at 4:45 on Easter Sunday, April 21, but she was kept alive so others can live — specifically her heart was a gift for a one-year old boy in Minnesota; her liver to a one-year old girl in Wisconsin; and her kidneys to a 26-year old female in Illinois. 
“If that heart carries any of the sassiness Cora had, that family will have a handful,” her dad said.
“They don’t tell us the location, but we can write them and meet them if they want,” Paul said of those who received the organs. He added that even though she had been through a lot in the prior few days, her heart was the strongest organ in her body.
In a letter the family recently received from LifeSource, they were told “Coralynn’s lungs and intestine were gratefully accepted by researchers. Your daughter’s gifts will be used by researchers to create a guide for the development of healthy immune systems in young children.”
The Hero Walk
Cora’s Hero Walk has been viewed by nearly 10 million people since she was taken from her room to surgery on April 23. She was surrounded by family members and staff at St. Marys as they made the walk.
“I was all right until they sang ‘Amazing Grace.’ The emotions you go through is just . . . a lot,” Paul faltered. “At the end of the video, the doctors and nurses were crying. A lot of the nurses and doctors touched us up there. They go above and beyond their duty making sure the family is satisfied.”
LifeSource considers everyone who donates a Super Hero and gives a cape to the family.
In addition, they were given a beautiful dress, made from a former wedding dress, Cora wore for her ride to the funeral home.
Cora’s Hero Walk was viewed by Garth Brooks’ music agent. “Meagan was contacted, and we were given four free tickets to Garth’s concert in Minneapolis on May 4,” Paul said. “I’ve always wanted to see him in concert. It was a great concert! They didn’t have to do that.”
During and after Cora’s hospital stay, the family has been blanketed with support from everyone. 
Paul explained, “It’s nice to have the support group we have. We are truly thankful. If it was just us, there’s no way we could do this ourselves.
“The staff in Cresco and in Rochester are top notch. They treated us like family at both places. We are blessed we live in the area we do.”
Cora actually had three strikes against her. Besides influenza, she had the common cold and pneumonia. Paul explained para-influenza stage 3 is new. “Rochester has only been testing for it 2-3 years at max. Only bigger facilities can test for it. They are afraid this will be the new mother flu. It is taking over influenza A and B.”
Paul credits their daughter, Maycee, with giving Cora her best chance of survival. “When we were in the car, she said something was wrong.” That statement sent them to the hospital in Cresco.
Talking with other parents
“Some parents will message us now if their kids are sick. We say to take them in and demand a blood test,” Paul noted.
He added the couple have been talking with Logan Luft’s parents (the Charles City family who donated his organs after he died in an ATV accident). “They told us it was hard enough when their son was killed, but couldn’t imagine losing a two-year-old.”
Their ordeal has made the family tighter. “It was the best 22 months we’ve had. Now we have to find the new normal.” 
The new normal
Paul described what life is like without Cora. “There are nights I will hear a baby crying, and I’ll get up and then remember she’s not here. You have to cry. When it first happened, we could have filled an ocean, and of course, they have sandpaper Kleenex and our noses were raw,” he smiled.
Sometimes late at night, he will get on Facebook and chat with other friends who are on there. If friend Janice Ollendick sees he is up, she will ask if he’s okay. “Together is how we get through it.”
Meagan also shares her thoughts and feelings. One post stated, “Tonight was Coralynns wake. I cannot believe the amount of love and comfort that I received from family and friends. Now we have a rough day tomorrow but I know with family by my side, I can endure it.”
There have been some coincidences or signs the family holds dear.
Before she passed, a rainbow appeared just outside their dining room window, and Cora loved rainbows.
Cardinals, a sign from heaven that loved ones are visiting, have been visiting the family.
Paul’s aunt, Patty and Milan Mohn learned half-a-day after Cora was pronounced that Milan’s son, Shannon, had been awarded a double lung transplant. “On April 22 at 3:30 a.m., he got a call that said his double lungs were ready in Minneapolis. Coincidence? We look at it as something positive in a negative situation.”
What the future holds
The family has received many donations in memory of their daghter. Paul works as flag man at area race tracks. This past Saturday, he and his family were surprised again by the support they have received since losing their Coralynn. Seth Maier and Cody Maier told the crowds after winning a race they were donating all their winnings to Cora’s cause.
Paul wrote on Facebook how blessed their family is with all everyone is doing. The Soboliks plan on honoring their little Super Hero in some way with those donations sometime in the near future.
Also, when the family feels ready, they will become advocates for organ donation. “It’s a way to keep Cora’s memory alive,” her dad said. “We also want to see what it would take to have smaller hospitals be able to test for influenza.”
Organ donation has become a passion for the family. “Right now, donation is at 1%. We’d like to see it at 2%. If something we say encourages another family to give organs, that’s great.
“We lost someone, but someone else got a new life.”
The family still keeps friends informed by posting photos of Cora online, and neither Paul nor Meagan is afraid to talk about their feelings. Paul said, “After I write, then I feel better.”
He paused, “I can’t thank people enough for what they did. We couldn’t have made it this far without everyone’s support.”

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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