‘Amazing’: Mom hears late daughter’s transplanted heart
CHICAGO (AP) — An Indiana woman heard the heartbeat of her late daughter inside the chest of a 68-year-old Illinois man who received it in a transplant operation.
Amber Morgan and Tom Johnson met for the first time Saturday, four years after he received a heart transplanted from the body of Andreona Williams, who was 20 when she died from asthma complications.
The Indiana Donor Network arranged the rare meeting at a Chicago hotel, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Morgan listened through a stethoscope that was pressed to Johnson’s chest.
“It’s almost like I got to hug my daughter again,” the South Bend, Indiana, woman said.
“As a mother, you listen to your child’s heartbeat when you carry them, and I don’t think you ever ask to hear it again,” Morgan said. “It’s amazing.”
Johnson of Kankakee, Illinois, said he sent a letter to Morgan in 2019, a year after the transplant at Loyola University Medical Center in suburban Chicago. He wanted to express his gratitude for the family’s decision to donate the heart.
He sent a second letter, too, but did not get a response until recently when Morgan said she would like to meet, especially after her own heart problems.
Johnson had dealt with a weak heart since childhood. Doctors tried a pacemaker and defibrillator before telling him that a transplant was the best solution.
“It opened up a whole new world of possibilities,” Johnson said. “It’s just unbelievable. I mean, I can work out in the garden, ride the bike. My sons can’t believe how quick I can go.”
Johnson’s wife, Sharon, said Williams’ heart is special.
“He takes very special care of her,” she said. “He never misses his heart medication. Never.”
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.