Lincoln heart transplant recipient dies at age 6

6-year-old Ingrid Borer, who received a heart transplant at just two months old, has died, according to her family.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – In November of 2014, Ingrid and Harlan Borer were born six weeks prematurely, both of them spending their first months of life in the NICU. Harlan, ‘Huck’ spent his first month in Lincoln, and Ingrid, ‘Iggy’ was transported to Children’s hospital in Omaha, where she would spend the first six months of her life.

Born with a congenital heart condition, Iggy faced a long road ahead. Before receiving her heart transplant at just two months old, her heart stopped twice.

On Tuesday morning, Iggy’s parents woke up to find that she wasn’t breathing. Iggy’s parents, Alicia and Nicholas, called an ambulance who tried to revive the young girl, but it was too late.

“She was a very bright, fun, happy child, always smiling laughing, making noise, which at the time it was like ‘Iggy give us a break’ but now it’s far too quiet in our house,” says Alicia.

In 2015, when Iggy was finally brought back home to Lincoln and reunited with her twin brother and family, Channel 8 News featured the family in a Magic Moment.

“We’ve had a lot of people call Iggy their inspiration,” Alicia said at the time.

But years later, Iggy remains an inspiration and will be remembered for her outgoing personality and love of life.

“She had lots of medications and doctor’s appointments and obligations but you wouldn’t’ know it,” Alicia says. “She thrived off the love and attention from all the doctors and nurses.” 

Friends of the borer family say Iggy was a young leader and an example for how people should live.

“She changed a lot of lives and she is the epitome of strength and perseverance and there’s not a whole lot of even adult humans that can say they battled and fought as hard as Iggy did,” says Stacy Orsborn, co-founder of Victress, a women’s boutique fitness center, that specializes in birth coaching and training. Orsborn and Borer have been friends since before Huck and Iggy were born. 

“She is one of those little girls that just lights up a room when she walks in, her smile, her laughter, her sense of just awe and wonder everywhere that she went.”

Another family friend, Elayne Woods Jones, shares a special relationship with Alicia. Woods Jones’ 15-year-old son, Noah, also received a heart transplant when he was 13. She says that the Borer family is full of fighters.

“Every single heart kid earns their heartbeats. I think as heart parents we don’t ever take any one of those heartbeats for granted, you know Iggy fought for the six years she had here and she lived it to its absolute fullest,” Woods Jones says. 

“It’s just amazing that modern medicine, without that, she wouldn’t have had those six years. But she did. And that was a joy.”

Woods Jones hopes that Iggy’s legacy will encourage more awareness and research for children who suffer from congenital heart conditions or who have undergone heart transplants.

Although hearts are heavy following her death, Iggy’s memory will carry on – encouraging others to live each day like it’s their last. Alicia says everyone can learn from Iggy. 

“Just say yes more, stop thinking about the little stuff and getting annoyed about all the things and the petty stuff because you don’t know. It sounds so cliché and everyone tells you that – I even heard that last week and you just never know. Love on people and tell them you love them everyday because you can’t do it anymore when they leave,” Borer says. 

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Iggy’s family to help pay for the cost of medical bills and funeral expenses. A candlelight vigil will also be held in Iggy’s honor on Sunday at Victress.

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