Two-time organ recipient shares story of survival

NEW PALESTINE, Ind. (WISH) — Millions watched some spectacular floats roll through the streets of Pasadena, California for the 126th Tournament of Roses Parade Thursday afternoon. Sitting on one of those floats was a Hancock County woman.

Julia Rejer of New Palestine was selected to join many others on board the “Donate Life” float. Rejer is a two-time organ recipient and was joined on the national stage by 30 other recipients.

“There were so many different emotions,” she said. “Happy. Sad. Excited. The crowds were unbelievable.”

Rejer’s trip to California is the first time she and her husband, Randy, have been able to go on vacation in 30 years.

She had been diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a rare bile duct disease, and had been extremely sick.

In 1994, Rejer had a liver transplant followed by a kidney transplant in 2008.

“The last three years have been the healthiest and best years,” Rejer said.

Rejer is now an advocate for organ donation and volunteers with the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization in Indianapolis.

She said she’s extremely thankful for the people who donated their organs. Now she’d had the opportunity to experience life events she never thought she would get to witness.

“I never thought I’d get to see my children grow up. I never thought I’d get to see them graduate high school and now they’ve graduated high school and college and danced at both of their weddings and I have three beautiful grandchildren that I am enjoying. It’s really hard to put into words other than to say thank you.”

You may sign-up to be an organ donor at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, on the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization’s websiteor on Donate Life’s website. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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