Family gets to hear dead son’s heart beating in Vietnam Veteran's chest after transplant

Family gets to hear dead son’s heart beating in Vietnam Veteran's chest after transplant

A family who lost its 21-year-old son, Matthew Heisler, in a tragic house fire got a chance to hear his heart beating in the chest of a veteran who waited nearly three years for a transplant.

Matthew had signed up to be an organ donor when he was just 16. His heart was transplanted to Tom Meeks who was a Vietnam War veteran.

Meeks was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called amyloidosis and was told he would die unless he had a transplant. He waited nearly three years for the procedure. Surgeons at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., performed Meeks's transplant successfully.

Matthew's mother, father and sister met Meeks and listened to Matthew's heart beating in his chest, almost eight months after their beloved son's death. This meeting of Meeks with Matthew's family was indeed emotional. Matthew's family each took turns listening to Meeks' chest with a stethoscope.

Jared Heisler, his father, said that hearing his son's heartbeat was awesome. Cheryl Heisler, the mother, after listening to the heartbeat, whispered "thank you," and hugged Meeks. Meeks in return wiped away his tears and said that it was his pleasure.

Prior to the meeting, Matt's younger sister Casey said her brother's memory lives on. "The heart that I grew up with, and felt in all of my hugs when I hugged him, that it's still out there somewhere," said Casey.

Meeks wasn't the only recipient of Matt's generosity as he has helped 60 other people too. These include: two middle-aged women each received one of Matt's kidneys, while a 61-year-old man received his liver.

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