When Heather Clark’s son passed at seven-months-old, she decided to donate his organs to save other children, but she never thought she would one day be able to hear his heartbeat again as a result. The touching moment was caught on camera, and you can see the full video below.
The mom put a stethoscope on four-year-old Jordan Drake’s heart and began to cry, but her story started in June, 2013, when her seven-month-old son Lukas died suddenly.
The mother of a boy who died under suspicious circumstances is able to hear his heart beat again: https://t.co/gbCM13YwRq
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) February 1, 2016
According to CBS News, she decided to donate his organs, which went to three children including Jordan.
“I knew if Lukas could prevent another family from experiencing the loss that I felt, that’s what I needed to do.”
At the time, Jordan was 18-months-old, suffering from a congenital heart defect, and being treated in Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH). The defect led to many problems, as Jordan’s mom Esther Gonzalez explained to USA Today.
“She had seizures. She had a brain bleed. She had a stomach bleed; a stroke. She had brain surgery, so many issues.”
Congenital heart defects are the most common defects infants face. Conditions like Jordan’s affect 8 out of every 1000 babies according to the National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute. Some cases show no symptoms and don’t require treatment; others, like Jordan’s, require medical attention soon after birth.
After so many months of suffering, what Gonzalez described as a “miracle” happened, her daughter could receive the heart she needed to live. The mom was happy, but also sympathetic towards the donor family.
“Whoever they were. I knew they had just lost a child.”
Normally, meetings between donor and recipients families are rare; only five percent will actually see each other. But shortly after the transplant, Lukas’s mom wrote to Gonzalez, who explained she had difficulty writing back and saying thanks for the enormous gift. According to her own accounts, she kept picking up a pen, but couldn’t get the words on paper.
The relationship took time, but developed over the course of three years, setting the stage for the mom to hear her deceased son’s heartbeat again. Heather Clark posted on the support page Justice for Lukas about the upcoming encounter.
“One week from today I will be listening to Lukas’ heartbeat once again. I will be holding Jordan in my arms showering her with love and kisses! We are also having a balloon release at a park in chandler az on Sunday January 31st for any Lukas supporters around there who would like to join. It’s open to anyone! I can’t believe how quickly this has happened!”
Clark was also able to meet PCH’s Heart Transplant Program Director Dr. John Nigro, who extracted the heart from Lukas and transplanted it into Jordan.
Donate Life Arizona Media Relations Coordinator Jacqueline Keidel explained to CBS News that the mom was excited to meet the man who allowed her son’s heart to beat once again.
Keidel also explained why meetings between families are so difficult.
“You have a family that’s gone through the most tragic loss of their life and that can be tough for them. On the other side, there’s survivor guilt, living out your life knowing someone passed away in order for you to be here today.”
Still, the coordinator explained this meeting was important for encouraging other parents to consider organ donation. A mom hearing her son’s heartbeat for the first time in three years should likely inspire a few other families to join their local donation programs.
[Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images]