A teenager’s decision to check a box is giving a combat veteran a new lease on life.
At 16, Matthew Heisler made the decision to become an organ donor. Five years later, Matthew’s roommate, Ryan Nelson, pulled him from their burning home and performed CPR until help arrived.
While at the hospital, Matthew’s heart stopped beating twice. Despite heroic efforts, he died that night.
But because of that check mark making him an organ donor, Matthew’s heart was rushed to Vietnam veteran Tom Meeks – after a more than 3 year wait on the transplant list.
“He made the decision that if life ever slipped away from him, he would give life to someone else,” Jared Heisler said of his son.
Eight months after the Matthew died, his parents had the opportunity to meet Tom Meeks and, amazingly, to hear their son’s heart beating inside the veteran’s chest.
As incredible as the story is, Matthew’s check mark goes even further – more than 60 people were able to improve their lives through his generosity.
A 46-year-old woman received one of Matt’s kidneys. The other went to a 56-year-old woman. The life of a 61-year-old man was saved by Matt’s gift of a liver.
Every 10 minutes a name is added to the national donor waiting list. Someone dies waiting every 18 minutes. More than 123,000 people are on the waiting list nation-wide.