The Katie’s Wish Foundation is a nonprofit organization created by two of Katie McBurnett’s best friends from middle and high school. With the help of her family, we organize and sponsor events to raise money to give back to the organ transplant community in Indiana and northern Kentucky.
What we do
We coordinate two events each year — the Katie McBurnett 5K in the spring in Columbus, Indiana, and we serve a meal to the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Indiana on March 29, Katie’s Heart Birthday.
The money we raise from the Katie McBurnett 5K event helps fund the Cough Buddy program. We purchase these medical bears and donate them to the following hospitals:
- Riley Hospital for Children at I.U. Health (Indianapolis, Ind.)
- Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent (Indianapolis, Ind.)
- Columbus Regional Hospital (Columbus, Ind.)
- Kings Daughters Hospital (Madison, Ind.)
- Kosair Children’s Hospital (Louisville, Ky.)
We are also planning our first scholarship, the Katie McBurnett Memorial Scholarship, to be awarded to a student who has received an organ transplant. The scholarship will be awarded in the spring of 2017.
Katie McBurnett started feeling flu-like symptoms during Christmas break of freshman year, December 2006. She was admitted to Riley Children’s Hospital on January 3, 2007, and not long after that, she was implanted with a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD). It pumped her enlarged heart for her, and it kept her alive. Katie put herself on the transplant list to await a new heart. She was the first person her age (15) to leave the hospital with a portable VAD. On March 29, 2007, she got the call at 2 a.m.; there was a heart for her. Later that night, after a 10 hour surgery, she was sitting up in bed in the ICU, talking. Katie left Riley nine days after her transplant, and stayed at the Ronald McDonald House of Indianapolis for about a month after her release from the hospital. She came home not long after that, and she was back to her old self again.
Katie passed away at 6 a.m. Tuesday, September 18, 2012. Five and a half years after her transplant, and eight days after her 21st birthday. She is missed by everyone who came in contact with her, and everyone who had their lives changed by her.