29-year-old Adrien Mowery was found in his car in the parking lot of the USI campus around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Sarah Appel says she almost lost her brother six years ago when he suffered major heart problems. But thanks to an organ donor Adrien was able to continue living life and beating the odds.
"That heart lasted six years. We wish it would have lasted a lot longer," Sarah said.
Looking through pictures at her home Wednesday night, Sarah says this is how she'll remember Adrien, her big brother with the big smile.
"He always took every day as a blessing and he was just so full of life," Sarah said.
Perhaps, Sarah says, it's because Adrien fought for life since birth. He was born with a rare heart disease and underwent several operations growing up.
In 2005, she says he started having more heart problems, and in May of 2006, he underwent a heart transplant in Indianapolis. Sarah was right there by her brother's side all the way. Not knowing, one day her brother would do the same for her.
"I was diagnosed with Stage Three breast cancer May 15, 2012, six years to the day after my brother had his heart transplant," Sarah told 14 News.
Sarah says since that day, Adrien would always check in on his little sister, sharing a laugh and a smile.
"He was my hero when I got diagnosed with breast cancer. I was like, 'if he can go through all that, I can go through this'," Sarah said.
Because of Adrien's health, Sarah says he would attended classes at USI when he felt up to it. She says he only had one year left until graduation.
"He just wanted to make something of himself," Sarah said.
But to his family and friends, he did. He overcame every struggle life dealt him, and with the help of an organ donor six years ago, he got an extra shot at life.
Sarah now hopes others will consider doing the same in memory of her big brother.
"If your donation of being an organ donor can save somebody else's life or prolong somebody else's life, please consider it," Sarah said.
Sarah says the coroner's office told her family that Adrien developed a tear in his heart and probably died sometime Tuesday afternoon.
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