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‘He’s a little superhero’

FD family turns tragedy into life-saving donation

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Friends and family of 1-year-old Kinnick Bishop hold signs to welcome Bishop's parents, Tiffany Groat and T.J. Bishop, back to Fort Dodge on Wednesday afternoon. Kinnick passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, and his parents chose to donate his organs to help other families with sick babies.

Not all superheros wear capes.

Sometimes they have a head full of blond curls, an infectious laugh and are gone far too soon.

For two Iowa families, 1-year-old Kinnick Bishop is their superhero.

Kinnick, the son of Tiffany Groat and T.J. Bishop, of Fort Dodge, died suddenly late last week. In their grief, anger and mourning, Groat and Bishop made a decision that something good needed to come out of their family’s tragedy and have Kinnick be an organ donor.

On Wednesday morning, Groat posted on her Facebook page that the baby boy who received Kinnick’s liver and kidneys had a successful transplant. On Tuesday, she posted that the baby who received Kinnick’s heart also had a successful transplant surgery.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Tiffany Groat and T.J. Bishop, parents of Kinnick Bishop, react as they drive by the dozens of friends, family and community members lined up along Fifth Avenue South to welcome them home from Des Moines on Wednesday afternoon. Kinnick, 1, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday.

With a police escort, Groat and Bishop brought Kinnick home from Des Moines one final time on Wednesday afternoon. To honor Kinnick’s memory and his legacy as an organ donor, Groat’s sister, April Sutterfield, of Humboldt, organized family and friends to line up along Fifth Avenue South near South 32nd Street to hold signs welcoming Kinnick home.

“He was so loved,” Sutterfield said. “He was a fighter until the very end.”

She said she wanted to show love and support to Groat and Bishop as they arrived back in Fort Dodge.

“Just to let them know that the whole community, and us as a family, are all right behind them and to honor Kinnick most of all,” Sutterfield said. “He’s a little superhero now. He is an organ donor.”

Dozens of friends, family and even community members who don’t even know the family turned out, holding posters and green balloons in honor of organ donation. It was an outpouring of love for Kinnick and his parents.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Amara Pommer and Kira Albright, both of Fort Dodge, hold photos of 1-year-old Kinnick Bishop, who passed away unexpectedly on Saturday. Friends and family of Kinnick's parents lined part of Fifth Avenue South to welcome them back home from Des Moines on Wednesday afternoon.

“I sat in the car and cried for about 20 minutes before I got out,” Sutterfield said when she arrived and saw the turnout. “It was amazing and it was a short amount of time to plan.”

Other friends and members of the Fort Dodge community have also reached out to offer support to Kinnick’s family during this time. Several local kids have set up lemonade stands and donated their profits to his family. A GoFundMe page has raised over $15,000 since Sunday.

“The struggle for Tiffany and T.J. is indescribable, but the support that they have from people they know and don’t know is absolutely the most beautiful experience I have ever seen,” Julie Spillman, Bishop’s mother said. “So many random acts of kindness.”

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Tyson Anderson, 12, holds a sign honoring 1-year-old Kinnick Bishop, while Angelia Bass, 13, and Chloe Bass, 6, stand by on Wednesday afternoon.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Ashley Vaala, executive director of the Lotus Community Project, (center) holds up a sign that reads "Baby Kinnick you are a hero!" in honor of 1-year-old Kinnick Bishop, who died unexpectedly on Saturday. Kinnick's parents, Tiffany Groat and T.J. Bishop, chose to donate Kinnick's organs to help other families.

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