The Heisler family received a a phone call at 4:00 a.m. on a Sunday in March. Their son Matt had perished in a house fire. He was only 21 years old and a student at the University of North Dakota.
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Since Matt was an organ donor, his heart still beats on even though he has passed. His sister Casey Heisler said, “It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that the heart I grew up with and felt in all of my hugs when I hugged him—that it is still out there somewhere.”
The Heisler family wanted to feel that heart beating again since it was transplanted into Tom Meeks, who lives in Washington state. Since Meeks had health concerns and because of his age, he was refused a heart transplant in five hospitals. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, was the one who put him on a waiting list for a transplant. He then received Matt’s heart.
The family went to meet Meeks eight months after Matt had passed.
Meeks said that the family has a special place in his heart.
The Heislers got a chance to hug the heart that they love, just in a different body.
Matt was able to help as many as 60 people by donating his organs. A 46-year-old woman received one of his kidneys, the other kidney went to a 56-year-old woman. Matt also saved the life of a 61-year-old man with his liver.
The family were able to listen to Matt’s heart beating with a stethoscope. Hearing the heartbeats left them in tears.
Meeks was more than happy to let the family hear his heart since it was the least he could do after receiving the gift of more time with his family.