Rebecca Wampler of Bourbon, Indiana, is a person you always want on your side. This compassionate neighbor, caregiver, wife, advocate, business owner, friend, and mother-in-law has spent her life making sure others come first. Her commitment to the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA) is no different.
Several years ago she and her husband, Don, were hit with devastating news - their daughter-in-law Lowellita had been battling Cystic Fibrosis (CF) for most of her life and she was desperately in need of a lung transplant to survive. Lowellita and their son, Travis, were the parents of two boys, Daric and Brandt, and Rebecca made a commitment to do anything she could to keep this family together ... and healthy.
Through hours of website searches educating herself on Lowellita's disease and the lung transplant she needed, Rebecca found COTA's website, www.cota.org. "So many websites I went to wanted money to find a cure for CF, but I kept searching until I found an organization that actually wanted to help her, our son and our grandkids," Rebecca said. "When I happened upon the COTA website, I remembered a family from Indiana who was raising money for their baby's liver transplant ... I also remembered that over 20 years ago I put a $10 bill in a canister to try and save that baby's life."
"COTA was founded in 1986 when one child from Bloomington, Indiana, needed a liver transplant to survive," said Rick Lofgren, COTA President. "The community rallied and raised more than $100,000 in two months' time for this little boy. Sadly, he died before a liver became available, but their efforts were not in vain." That $100,000 launched the Children's Organ Transplant Association.
Over 20 years later, after putting $10 in the COTA canister, Rebecca found herself calling COTA to find help for her family. In 2005 Rebecca rallied neighbors and family members and launched a COTA campaign in honor of her daughter-in-law, Lowellita Miller. Rebecca remembers planning and organizing silent auctions, white elephant sales, Pizza Hut nights, ice cream socials ... you name it; Northeastern Indiana friends and family planned it ... to raise funds for COTA, and ultimately for Lowellita's second chance at life.
Even with Rebecca leading the team to raise funds and leading a fight to reverse a ruling that denied coverage when their military benefit program canceled her son's family's insurance coverage, Lowellita did not make it to transplant. Lowellita became very sick very quickly and while she was on a trip to a Florida beach with her sons, she passed away at age 38.
"Don and I believe strongly in the Children's Organ Transplant Association. We believe that working for COTA and supporting COTA is our mission," Rebecca said. Rebecca and Don have joined The Hope Society, a group of contributors who make gifts to COTA through estate planning.
"We are all moving on as a family since Lowellita's passing," Rebecca said. "Upon our deaths, a percentage of our estate will go to COTA. This estate gift is a way for us to always stay connected to Lowellita, and that is very important to us. The legacy of COTA will forever live in our family."
"And the legacy of Rebecca and Don, and the entire Wampler family, and their unwavering commitment to care for others, will live on within the larger COTA family as well," COTA President Lofgren added.
If you would like additional information about planned gift vehicles so you can also make a significant gift to benefit COTA patients, please contact Rick Lofgren, CFRE at 800-366-2682.
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