Bill Conner cycled 1,400 miles cross-country to meet the man who received his deceased daughter’s heart.
The journey began in Madison, Wisconsin in May all the way to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. All this, in honor of his daughter, and to finally meet 21-year-old Loumonth Jack, Jr.
Bill’s daughter died last January when she and her brother were found face-down unconscious in a hotel pool while on family vacation in Mexico.
By the time they were discovered and pulled out from the water, Abbey was said to have already suffered irreversible brain damage. Her brother thankfully survived.
Jack, for his part, suffered a viral infection that affected his heart. He was only given 10 more days to live, and at that point, he was told only a miracle could save him.
In a stroke of luck and answered prayers for Jack, Bill’s daughter Abbey was a registered organ donor. She was flown to Fort Lauderdale, where she was kept on life support until doctors could harvest her organs for transplant.
And Jack was found to be a perfect match. A day after Abbey died, Jack received her heart.
According to the proud father,
“Abbey donated four organs, allowing four males, ages 20 to 60, to live. She also donated her eyes and other tissues.”
It was truly an emotional moment for the two to finally meet 5 months since Abbey’s death, and just in time for Father’s Day. They hugged tight for a few solid minutes before both of them started to tear up.
Jack also handed Bill a stethoscope, for him to listen to his daughter’s heart beat once more.
"Knowing he's alive because of Abbey, Abbey is alive inside of him -- it's her heart having him stand up straight."
“I was happy for him and his family, and at the same time, I got to reunite with my daughter.”
Jack expressed how thankful he is to be given a second chance at life. He couldn’t express his gratefulness any more than saying,
"She saved me and I can't repay her. I wish I could but I can't...All I can do is send my love to her family."
Bill wishes to spread awareness on the impact and importance of organ donation. He continued his journey in the hopes people will notice and take a stand to help others live a longer, more fulfilled life. Also, he aims to finally meet the 4 other recipients of his daughter’s organs and tissues.
"It's about not being selfish and burying things that could help people live or live better lives,"
"If you want a legacy -- what better legacy could you have than to help people live?"
KAMI wants to remember all the dearly departed who are so giving and generous even in their last moments, that they choose to give other people a longer shot at the life they have lost. Kudos to all the organ donors out there! You are truly selfless and deserve to be honored. You are heroes in your own, special way, and for that, you will forever be remembered.
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