At Children’s Medical Center Saturday, Chandler Sullivan sat by her 4-year-old daughter’s side as they waited for the surgery that would take her heart to help save another child’s life.
Wednesday morning, doctors had declared Abbie brain-dead less than 48 hours after she and her father were in a car crash in Sulphur Springs.
Sullivan said she’d been at work in Little Rock, Arkansas, when her mom called to tell her the news.
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“She said 'don’t freak out. There’s been an accident, and all I know is that Abbie is breathing,'” said Sullivan.
She’d later learn that while Abbie and her dad, Jason Cooley, were headed from her home in Arkansas to his in Lewisville, traffic along Interstate 30 had forced them to slow to a near stop.
A pickup driving behind them never did.
“In a split second, my world was changed,” said Sullivan.
According to troopers, the impact forced Cooley’s car into the two in front of him.
He was taken to a nearby hospital in Sulphur Springs.
Abbie was airlifted to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas where doctors attempted to stop the swelling on her brain.
Wednesday morning, they told Sullivan there was nothing more they could do.
“I couldn’t grasp that I was losing my only child at just the age of four,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan described her daughter as fierce and fearless with the ability to light up a room.
“She was my life. Every day revolved around her. I don’t think she met anyone who didn’t love her instantly, even here, in this situation,” said Sullivan.
Though she’s not sure where she goes from here, without Abbie to care for, Sullivan’s found her strength in knowing her daughter’s short life will continue to have a purpose.
In addition to the donation of her heart, several of Abbie’s organs will be given to science.
And though the Highway Patrol said it’s still too early in their investigation to know why the teenage driver behind Cooley never slowed their vehicle, Abbie’s story has begun to make the rounds on social media where her parents hope it will encourage people to keep their attention on the road.
“It makes me know that she won’t be forgotten. It makes me know that she’ll make a difference,” said Sullivan.
The crash remains under investigation.