If you know anyone that has ever been a recipient of or a donor of an organ you know how incredibly life changing it can be. If you don’t know anyone, I’m sure you can imagine what a incredible blessing it would be if someone you knew and loved was able to live on because another person donated their organs upon passing. Last week in Arizona, an amazing meeting happened between two families who had this experience. One was on the donor side, and one was the recipient.
This sad, but heartwarming and touching story began in June 2013 when Heather Clark left her 7-month-old son, Lukas, with a babysitter that she trusted only to have a mom’s worst nightmare come true: the sitter’s boyfriend ended up abusing the baby, which resulted in his sad and tragic death that same month.
Even though Clark was suffering through one of the most horrendous and difficult times in her life, she made the brave decision to donate little Lukas’ organs so that he could help save another child’s life. She said when deciding to donate his organs she thought, “There is another family out there, somewhere, you know who’s feeling something of what I’m feeling, somewhat, and I have the chance to make them not go through what I’m about to go through.” She continued to say that the only thing she could think of was “I can’t save my own son so why not save someone else’s child because I can’t do anything with him.”
That courageous decision resulted in saving the lives of 3 people, one of which was Jordan Drake, a beautiful 4-year-old little girl from Arizona.
At the time of Lukas’ death she was suffering from a congenital heart defect and spent most of her time in the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. She received Lukas’ heart on June 22, 2013 which is exactly what she needed in order to survive.
Drake’s mother, Esther Gonzalez, said of the courageous act of giving life to another, “It’s hard to describe… that she would be so selfless to be able to think of another family while she’s going through her grief.”
These two incredible families were able to meet for the first time on January 30, 2016 since the tragic accident and life saving surgery back in 2013. They gathered with the donor network of Arizona at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and as you can imagine it was very emotional for both sides.
While there, Clark was able to listen to her deceased son’s heart beating inside Jordan’s chest. She was hearing first hand the gift of life her son gave. Obviously, it was a day that neither mother will ever forget. For one, their child had given new life to someone that would have otherwise passed away, and for the other, their child was alive because of a sad infant death and a courageous first time mom.
Little Jordan gave an amazing gift to Clark that will be cherished by the mother forever. It was a teddy bear that had a recording of Lukas’ heart beat inside so she could listen to her son’s beating heart any time she needed or wanted. Although this story began as a tragedy, it ended up turning into a beautiful, life saving journey that will keep the families in touch forever.