Metro Teen’s Suicide Leads To Lifesaving Gifts and Warnings

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  His family referred to him as a modern day renaissance man.

"Drew not only made an impact on the field, he made an impact at school, church, and in our community," said Dan Lienemann.

In 2016, 18-year-old Waukee High School senior Drew Lienemann, Dan's son, appeared to have it all, but inside life was too much and he died by suicide.

"To have a child die, regardless of how it happens, is devastating," said Dan.

Over a year later, Wanda Lienemann, Drew's mom, says the heartache remains.

"Every day, it hurts every day. It's very painful. I think what Drew did was very impulsive."

Tuesday's gathering at Des Moines' Mercy Hospital, led by the Iowa Donor Network, also helped explain how it led to others receiving a selfless gift from Drew, who was an organ donor.

"God's bringing something good to this tragedy," said Wanda.

One hundred ninety-four lives have been impacted through Drew's decision. This includes two people in South Korea and one in Switzerland.

"Giving those people another chance at life," said Wanda.

Iowan Yuri Giron received Drew's kidney and expressed his gratitude in a letter to the Lienemann family. Wanda read the letter to the group, which read, in part, "I wanted to thank you for giving me an opportunity to continue living my life and to be around my family for more years to come."

Drew's family believes it is important that his legacy will live on, but for others to realize suicide robbed him of so much more.

Wanda said, "I'm glad Yuri is doing well, but the lives Drew could have touched if he were still living is phenomenal to me."

They hope his loss can be another family's gain, not just through organ donation but also in suicide prevention.

Dan said, "Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength."


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