Monday was a sad day for residents of Wellsville and Columbiana County.
A courageous young woman, 21-year-old Chelsea Lingenfelter, lost her battle with liver disease. She had been fighting that battle since the age of 4.
She had been waiting for a liver transplant for more than a year and tragically that wait had been too long. She died during surgery Monday afternoon after receiving the long-awaited organ donation.
Those who knew Chelsea described her as a sweet girl who managed to be upbeat and strong while she cheered others despite her suffering and the challenges she faced. The search for a liver and requests for prayers for her were posted on social media websites by people throughout the country. Team Chelsea was organized to raise money and publicize awareness of the family's plight and a website "A liver for Chelsea" was also developed to help search for an organ donation.
Wellsville Village Council Tuesday night became an impromptu celebration of Chelsea's life, with several village officials moved to tears. In her honor, council has designated March 23 as organ donation awareness day in the village, in the hope that by increasing awareness of this important need, some families may be spared the long wait endured by Chelsea Lingenfelter and her family.
Never before has someone so young brought so many people together in Wellsville for such a good cause. We may have lost Chelsea, but the goodwill fostered by her and those who rallied to her aid will long be remembered.