CHARLES CITY, Iowa - While it may have been homecoming and senior night for the Charles City Comets, Friday night was about more than just football. Thanks to the gift of organ donation, a special fan was able to make the trip from Kentucky to Iowa to cheer on the Comets.
There are rich sights, sounds and emotions that come along with homecoming and senior night that include honoring senior royalty, cheers and ruffling pom-poms and the band's symphonic notes. But what about an 11-year-old girl?
Logan Luft's heart beats in Ember Henderson's chest. Luft, a Charles City teen, died in a 2017 accident. He would have been a senior this year. For Logan's mother, Ember's presence made Friday night special.
"I think every mom looks at senior night as a great night to celebrate their kid and all the achievements they've made throughout their high school career. In our case, we weren't going to have that and I kind of was dreading tonight a little bit," said Wendy Luft. "When I found out the Hendersons were coming up I was excited because I knew that even though he couldn't be here, she would be."
The senior boys honored Logan's legacy and family by presenting his mother with flowers before the game. When the Charles City cheerleaders had learned Ember would be in attendance, they provided her with a uniform and invited her to cheer with them. Wise beyond her years, Ember was eloquent in expressing her gratitude.
"If I never got that heart - Logan wanted to be an organ donor - I would not be alive right now and be with my family here. I'm just touched by that," Henderson said.
Ember's thankfulness proving how precious organ donation is.
"For us, Logan just keeps on living every single day and we may not get to celebrate some of the things that he could have accomplished but we get to celebrate all of the things she's going to accomplish," Luft said.
Oct. 9 was the originally scheduled date for Charles City's senior night, which was rescheduled due to COVID-19 concerns. Coincidentally, that is the same day Ember is set to be adopted by the Hendersons, giving the Lufts and Hendersons yet another reason to celebrate together.