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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, October 12, 2017 1:00 am

Cadet embarks on aces-for-organ-donor effort

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

Jenna Mitchell, a senior volleyball player at Concordia, learned the difference being an organ donor can make after losing her uncle in 2014.

In the past, Mitchell's family has participated in the Indiana Donor Network 5-kilometer races, but this year, because of volleyball, she was unable to attend.

But she is figuring out other ways to give back.

As the Cadets enter the postseason, Mitchell hopes to use her game to encourage others to pledge to support the Indiana Donor Network for every serve and ace throughout the tournament.

“I know he donated everything he could, so I know there were a lot of people who benefited from that,” Mitchell said. “My mom actually brought it up with me because she saw how many aces I was getting, so she thought, 'Why not do something good?'”

Mitchell's uncle, Robert Houser Jr., was 26 when he died in an accident while working as a landscaper. Mitchell was in eighth grade at the time.

Houser was a huge fan of Mitchell's athletic endeavors, whether it was volleyball, track or basketball.

“We were really close,” she said. “I honestly could say he was my older brother. He always made me laugh.”

Mitchell has found comfort in knowing he would be proud of everything she's accomplished.

“He would always come to my games,” she said. “He would always support me, so knowing he wasn't there, I wanted to do better for him and push myself.”

Mitchell hopes her fundraiser helps raise awareness of the impact of being an organ donor.

“Before he passed away, I didn't know how it affected people,” she said. “After he passed, it helped a lot of people, so I know doing this fundraiser, it would help a lot of people raise awareness.”

Her mother has helped set everything up, says Mitchell, adding that the only thing she has to do is “go out and get aces,” of which she has accumulated 74 in 86 sets this season.

Pledges of $1 can be made for every ace that Mitchell gets throughout Concordia's postseason run starting today against Carroll.

More information can be found at IndianaDonorNetwork.org.

areichel@jg.net