Kristina Chesterman’s heart stopped before the 21-year-old registered organ donor was able to complete her bucket list. Like many young people, Kristina had a heart full of dreams and things she wanted to do. Unfortunately, this young nursing student died before being able to complete her list. The recipient of Kristina’s heart, 64-year-old Susan Vieira, was so grateful to have been given the young woman’s heart that she vows to complete all the remaining items on Chesterman’s bucket list.
“She wanted to fly a plane, she wanted to travel extensively and she wanted to ride a camel,” Chesterman’s mom told KRCR News.
According to KRCR News, Susan suffered from congestive heart failure and Kristina’s heart saved her life. Susan will begin fulfilling Kristina’s heart’s desires as soon as she recovers from the transplant. The heart recipient said, “Kristina’s waiting there to advise me.”
Kristina was killed by an alleged drunk driver. She was riding her bike when she was struck by a vehicle. Alcohol is suspected to play a factor in the accident. Last month, a judge set a trial date for the Ohio man accused of the hit-and-run accident that took Kristina’s life. Judge James Reilley ruled that there was enough evidence to put Riley Dean Hoover, 20, on trial. The trial date is set for September.
The need for organ donations greatly exceeds the number of donor organs received. According to NationSwell, “while 90 percent of Americans approve of organ donation, only 42.7 percent have signed up to do so. Because of the discrepancy, nearly 7,000 Americans die waiting for organs each year, roughly 18 per day.”
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Kristina donated her other organs as well. Kristina’s legacy also saved two babies who received portions of the young woman’s liver and a friend of the family who received a kidney. “I never met a person more caring and loving,” Morgan Burbach, a friend of Kristina, told KTVU News, “She was going to make an amazing nurse. She loved it. It was her passion.”
While Kristina’s life was much shorter than she or her loved ones had hoped for, through the tragic loss and graciousness of her heart, Kristina saved five lives as an organ donor. “I believe Kristina was here to really make an impact, and that goodness will ripple forever,” the grandmother of one of the babies Kristina saved told San Jose Mercury News.
Kristina Chesterman’s inspiration and goodness live on. 64-year-old Susan Vieira never expected to get a new lease on life. The donor recipient hopes that Kristina’s heart will be able to experience all the wishes on the deceased woman’s bucket list.
[Image via public Facebook]