Family says 8-year-old girl’s passing will save lives through organ donation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's a tragic update to a story we first told you about last week. A local pastor and his three children were involved in a serious crash August 23. The family's eight-year-old little girl, Elise, has now died.

While the family of Pastor Jason Johns didn't get the miracle they were praying for, they're still finding promise in this incredibly difficult time.

A beautiful little light was dimmed far too soon.

"Elise was a big spirit. She filled a room. She was an extraordinary little girl. She loved everyone. In every way," said Tim Johns, Elise's grandfather.

Eight-year-old Elise Johns was riding in her dad's pickup with her big brother Kaden and little sister Hope last week when another driver slammed into them. Even at 35 miles an hour, the impact was so intense it pushed their truck into a light pole.

After a tough fight over the past week, little Elise couldn't hang on any more.

"So now we have another discussion. Would you like to be an organ donor?" Johns said.

Without hesitation, Elise's parents, Pastor Jason Johns and his wife Sarah, said yes.

"Now Elise is a hero... She could potentially save eight lives," said Johns.

But even in a sea of deep sadness that wasn't the only glimmer of hope. Elise's little sister, five-year-old Hope, who's also been in the ICU since the crash, was turning a corner.

"Kaden comes rushing into the room shouting, 'She's moving her feet!  She's moving her toes!' And we were told fairly clearly that would never happen. That she was severely damaged in her spinal cord and that the chances of her ever having any response in her lower extremities was like impossible," said Johns.

The family is convinced while the chance for one miracle slipped away, another is still happening through Hope. And they credit an overwhelming amount of community support for helping them persevere in the most trying of times.

"It's like you're being held up on angel wings by the people's that are supporting and giving financially and continuing to pray," John said.

A Go Fund Me page set up for the family is now well over $125,000. The family says they are extremely grateful and confident one day, they'll be able to keep paying it forward through their church's work in the community.