NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Cranford’s Emma Rothman, along with three other college-bound students, received a scholarship from NJ Sharing Network Monday morning. The network is a non-profit devoted to saving lives through tissue and organ donation.
Rothman received a heart transplant at age 12 after sudden heart failure due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Less than five weeks later, Rothman participated in the NJ Sharing Network’s first annual 5K to honor her personal donor and has worked with them ever since.
“Emma started Hearts for Emma, initially to support families in need in the hospital whose children were waiting for transplants,” Dan Sarnowski, who presented Emma’s scholarship, said. “Originally, it was meal plans for families to get out of the hospital and get a nice meal. A simple start to an amazing fund.”
Hearts for Emma expanded to include Emma’s closet, which provides a variety of toiletries for families in the hospital. She starred in a video titled “You Have the Power to Save Lives,” spoke at synagogues, received awards and more in her efforts to show how a normal teenage girl can be.
“I am so proud to be here,” Rothman said. “To represent my family, my donor family, and the NJ Sharing Network is a huge honor and something I take very seriously.”
Rothman thanked her parents for supporting her in all her endeavors, from volleyball to Emma’s Closet, and said they’re her inspiration.
“My dad is my North Star,” Rothman said. “With his guidance, I have a strong set of morals that guide me to where I want to be and what I want to do. I know that this is the right direction for me.”
Emma’s parents, Nancie and Mark Rothman, view Emma as an inspiration as well.
“Emma’s loving, empathetic and strong,” Nancie Rothman said. “Proud doesn’t even come close. I call these aha moments, when I watch her in action, whether it’s playing volleyball or leading a program about social justice. By the grace of God, she really is a miracle. We take our lead from her.”
In August, Rothman will attend Syracuse University, where she will study Citizenship and Civic Engagement to aid her in her goal of working for a nonprofit and helping others as much as possible.
“That’s what I want to do with my life,” Rothman said. “Help other people.”
Along with Rothman, scholarships were awarded to Varsha Garla, Max Prince and Alexa Sirubi.