THEIR NAME IS SYNONOMOUS WITH GRIEF.
AND, WITH STRENGTH.
A NORTH IDAHO FAMILY WHO HAS HAD THEIR FAITH TESTED
MOST OF US COULD NEVER IMAGINE.
A LITTLE MORE THAN FOUR YEARS AGO, DREW SWANK DIED
AFTER SUFFERING A HEAD INJURY ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD.
NOW, HIS FAMILY'S FAITH TESTED AGAIN.
AS HIS BELOVED OLDER SISTER FIGHTS FOR HER LIFE.
KXLY4'S MELISSA LUCK IS HERE WITH THIS SPECIAL REPORT.
THE SWANK FAMILY IS HUGE - 8 KIDS, AUNTS AND UNCLES
- COUSINS AND FRIENDS SPREAD ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
IN DREW'S DEATH, THEY FOUND EVEN MORE FAMILY.
AND, IN THE FACE OF MORE TRAGEDY - THEY'RE LEARNING
WHAT FAMILY REALLY MEANS.
SOT/TARA @ :06
It's definitely a snowshoe day..
THE SWANK HOUSE IN NORTH IDAHO IS ONE OF THOSE IDYLLIC
COEVRED IN SNOW, BATHED IN SUNLIGHT - FILLED WITH
NATS/TARA @ :36
FOR TARA SWANK, A PLACE OF REFUGE IN WHAT HAS BEEN
A STORM OF UNTHINKABLE GRIEF.
SOT/TARA @ :44
Watching my youngest brother and sisters go through
the death of their brother has probably hurt me as
much as just my own hurt of watching my brother die.
REMINDERS OF DREW ARE EVERYWHERE.
IN SMILING PICTURES, IN GRIEVING HEARTS.
SOT/PATTI SWANK @ :05
It's horrendous, really.
There's no word for the heartbreak.
I'm still not over Drew.
DREW WAS JUST 16 WHEN A FOOTBALL INJURY ENDED HIS
THE OLDEST OF 8, A CRITICAL CARE NURSE BY TRADE -
TARA HELD THIS FAMILY TOGETHER.
SOT/TARA @ :06
That's the one thing I've prayed for this whole time
is that my family wouldn't have to go through another
especiallly my mom and dad.
DREW LIVES ON IN THEM - AND, IN THE PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES
AUSTIN FLETCHER HAS DREW'S LIVER.
LEE BLUMENTHAL, DREW'S HEART.
HIS ORGANS BRING HOPE AND LIFE TO TOTAL STRANGERS,
MANY, NOW FAMILY.
SOT/TARA @ :16
One of the organ recipients, not only did we get to
meet him, but he received Drew's lungs and we got
to listen to Drew's lungs with my stethescope, which
NOW, 4 YEARS AND 4 MONTHS AFTER LOSING DREW, THE SWANKS
FACE THE FRAGILITY OF LIFE AGAIN.
SOT/TARA @ :05
I knew something wasn't quite right to be that tired.
SOT/PATTI @ :34
It was a shock when we got the news she had breast
SOT/TARA @ :07
Lo and behold, not only was I diagnosed with breast
cancer, but Stage 4 breast cancer.
BY THE TIM THEY CAUGHT IT, IT WAS IN HER LIVER, TOO.
TARA'S A NURSE.
SHE KNEW WHAT THAT MEANT.
SOT/TARA @ :41
When anybody in the medical field hears Stage 4, they
automatically write you off.
Like, you're pretty much going to die.
So, I was frightened at first.
SOT/PATTI @ :50
She handled it much better than the rest of us.
She just matter of factly when on and started talking
to the doctor about what to do and what the plan was.
6 MONTHS OF CARDIO, RADIATION FOR THE TUMORS.
TARA LOST HER HAIR, BOTH BREASTS, OFTEN HER STRENGTH.
BUT, NEVER HER WILL.
NEVER HER FAITH.
SOT /tara @ :25
No matter what the outcome, God is behind me.
And, I just truly believe that with my whole heart.
LAST APRIL, THINGS TURNED AROUND - FOR A TIME, SHE
WAS EVEN IN REMISSION.
A TIME TO EXHALE, FOCUS ON LIFE.
BUT, LAST AUGUST MORE TUMORS.
THE SWANK FAMILY, STILL GRIEVING ONE CHIL, FACES THE
POSSIBILITY OF LOSING ANOTHER.
SOT/PATTI @ :06
I cry over him all the time - and, with Tara, it's
a hard road.
But, like Tara said, my faith is in God, my hope is
And trusting he's going to keep her here for many,
NOW, A NEW PLAN - EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENT - ONE MORE
SOT @ :28
My head isn't in the sad, I know what's going on.
and, I know - if you look at the statistics, statistics
aren't very good - but, I'm going to have even half
a chance, I need to build my body up, so that's what
I'm looking at now.
She's leaving the country for treatment insurance
This close-knit family rallies again.
They're planning a fundraiser next week to cover the
costs - and, getting help from an unexpected place.
SOT/ROCKY MERRYFIELD @
Right away, we were talking about how much are we
ROCKY MERRYFIELD LIVES IN KENT.
A HUSBAND, A FATHER, A SURVIBOR.
HE'S ALIVE TODAY - BECAUSE OF A YOUNG MAN NAMED DREW
We were sitting here one morning watching the news
and it came on about Drew's accident in the football
We were like - God, what a tragedy.
He's just a kid.
And, a few days later, we got the call and I ended
up with Drew's lungs.
DREW'S DEATH SAVED ROCKY'S LIFE.
HE'S PART OF THE SWANK FAMILY NOW.
SO HE DID WHAT FAMILY DOES.
SOT/TARA @ :25
I needed to put $1,000 for some treatment I'm going
to be having.
The very next day, a check came in the amount of $1,000
And, it said - on the check.
in memory of Drew.
He's inside me.
I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for the Swanks and
WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT A GIFT THAT COMES FULL CIRCLE.
ABOUT ONE LIFE SAVED - ANOTHER, GIVEN HOPE.
THROUGH ROCKY, THEY HEARD DREW'S LUNGS.
THROUGH ROCKY, THEY'RE FEELING DREW'S HEART.
SOT @ :02
When we gave Drew's organs, it was a gift.
It's an amazing miracle to me that it's coming back
to help us out now.
ROCKY'S GIFT IS JUST THE BEGINNING.
TARA'S FAMILY IS HOLDING AN AUCTION AND DINNER FUNDRAISER
IT'S AT AT THE EAGLE'S LODGE IN COEUR D'ALENE.
IF YOU CAN'T MAKE IT AND YOU WANT TO HELP, THERE'S
AN ACCOUNT SETUP AS WELL.
YOU CAN FIND OUT ALL THE INFORMATION ON OUR WEBSITE,
KXLY.COM - OR GIVE ME A CALL HERE AT KXLY AND I CAN
SEND YOU TO THE RIGHT PLACE.