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ROCHESTER, Minn. – It is a special Thanksgiving for one Minnesota family and a heart transplant recipient from Washington state.
The death of a 21-year-old Minnesota student Matt Heisler was a tragedy for his friends and family.
But, as an organ donor, the young man has given new life to others.
Now, Matt’s family has gotten a chance to hear their loved-one’s heartbeat again.
According to KARE, Tom Meeks, a Vietnam Veteran, waited three years for a new heart.
In March, his wait for a transplant came to an end.
While Meeks got the call he had been waiting for, the Heisler family got a call no family wants.
“I was sitting on the steps and I heard my dad say, ‘Are you sure it’s Matt?'” Casey Heisler told KARE. “I thought I was dreaming.”
Matt Heisler died in a house fire.
Since he signed up to be an organ donor, his heart was donated to Meeks.
“He made the decision that if life ever slipped away from him, he would give life to someone else,” Jared Heisler said.
Now, months later, Meeks has met the family of that 21-year-old student.
Matt’s sister, mother and father got the chance to not only meet the heart transplant recipient, but hear their loved one’s heartbeat in another person.
“This is awesome,” Jared Heisler said after he listened.
Through the donation of his other organs, Matt was able to help 60 people.
According to KARE, a 46-year-old woman received one of Matt’s kidneys and the other went to a 56-year-old woman.
For more information and frequently asked questions about organ donation, visit the Life Source website.