When her son passed away almost twenty years ago, Vicki Brannon was devastated. But in the midst of her pain, she decided to use her son’s death to save a life, and donated his heart to a dying girl.
Her son, Matthew McIntyre, died on July 5, 1996 after being mortally wounded by a friend who had accidentally fired a handgun. The next day, the 14-year-old boy’s heart went to Jennifer Lentini, a 13-year-old girl who had suffered from heart disease and had been hospitalized for months waiting for a transplant.
Last week, Vicki Brannon, 56, got to hear her deceased son’s heartbeat for the first time in nearly two decades when she embraced Jennifer Lentini during an emotional meeting on Valentine’s Day at Tampa International Airport.
“I finally get to say thank you,” Lentini said after embracing Brannon, who couldn’t contain her tears.
“I’m overwhelmed, I’m happy—my son had a good, strong heart and it has kept her alive. I feel like I gained a daughter,” Vicki told NY Daily News.
The tear-filled meeting had special meaning as Saturday also marked National Donor Day.
“Matthew’s heart keeps beating,” Lentini assured Brannon.
h/t: NY Daily News.