A Young Donor’s Gift Leads To Lifelong Friendship

There is nothing more tragic than the loss of a child, but for Heather Clark, signing the consent to donate her son’s organs following his death was a way of giving hope to someone who might desperately need it. It turns out a young donor’s gift was also the hope she needed.

Clark had left her seven-month-old son Lukas in a babysitter’s care, and the child died as a result of child abuse. Because the case is still pending, according to USA Today, Clark was unable to elaborate further on what happened, but when it became clear that her only child was not going to recover from his injuries, she made the heartbreaking decision to have something terrible become a young donor’s gift.

“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,” Clark said of the decision to donate her son’s organs, according to Fox 4 News.

Although many donor situations are anonymous, Clark began reaching out via social media to try to find the recipient of her young donor’s gift. People reports that Clark and Esther Gonzalez, mother to four-year-old Jordan Drake, who ultimately received Lukas’ heart, finally connected around Thanksgiving 2015.

“The donation was anonymous, so it was up to us to find each other,” Clark said. “We were both writing letters and social media messages trying to locate one another, but we kept missing each other until this year.”

Gonzalez said that in the time leading up to the young donor’s gift, everyone was quite frightened for Jordan’s continued well being. Jordan was diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation, a condition which would require a heart transplant, news that the family learned when Jordan was just 15 months old. Thankfully, the family only waited a month for a new heart, and Gonzalez said she was grateful for the courage Clark showed in making the choice to sign the organ donation consent.

“Heather was going through the most pain and sadness of her life and she was brave and selfless to think of others at that time,” Gonzalez said. “She made that insanely hard decision, and we are so thankful to her and her son.”

The meeting between the two women occurred with the donor network of Arizona at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and was videotaped. Both women were in tears after the encounter and said they are like family after this experience.

“We tell each other we love each other, because we are in this life together now,” Gonzalez said. “Lukas will always be here in Jordan. It’s beautiful.”

As a way of thanking Clark for the young donor’s gift, Gonzalez and her daughter Jordan gave her a teddy bear that has an audio recording of Lukas’ heartbeat. Gonzalez said as a result of Clark’s decision to sign the organ donation paperwork, the young donor’s gift of his heart will ensure that Jordan stays on the path to an active childhood.

In the moments leading up to the face to face meeting, Clark said she was eager to hear her son’s heartbeat once more.

“I get to hear his heartbeat again and that’s really all I can think about,” she admitted, according to WKBN.

Gonzalez was apparently just as anxious and was struggling with words to describe how she felt in the moments leading up to meeting the woman who consented for the young donor’s gift of a heart to be given.

“I’m not going to say anything. I’m just going to hug her. I think I have run out of words at this point. Hugging… I don’t have anything else to say,” she said, according to WTVR.

The young donor’s gift has led to what seems to be the start of a lifelong friendship between the two women, who admitted they are going to try and meet as frequently as possible following this first reunion.

The young donor’s gift of life that resulted in the reunion between the two women is featured here:

(Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)