Chance Encounter Unites Organ Recipient & Donor Family
The way this meeting came together will give you chills!
When John Sueme and his family and friends, and the family and friends of Donovan Bulger went to the St. Louis Cardinal's Donate Life Day, they thought they were going to celebrate the life-saving power of organ donation. Little did they know a simple baseball game would change their lives -- again.
Rewind to 2016. John was in heart failure and needed a transplant. Around the same time, 21- year old Donovan died in a tragic car accident. Donovan, who was from Belleville, IL, wanted to become an organ donor, and as his siblings told CNN , a number of his organs were donated. John received Donovan's heart.
Because of donation rules, the two families weren't allowed to exchange identifying information, but Donovan's family sent John some photographs, so he could "put a face" to his new "heart of gold" as Bulger's sister Savannah Roesch described it on her Facebook page. A photo of Donovan was printed on commemorative t-shirts the group wore to the April 28 Cardinal's game.
"We try to attend events to help spread awareness," said Roesch, "We were all standing there representing our brother when we heard someone ask 'Are you Donovan's family?'" John's daughter had recognized the photo on their shirts!
Watch what happened next:
As the tears flowed, one by one, John hugged each of Donovan's siblings and friends tightly to his chest, so they could hear Donovan's heart beating inside him.
"I think Donovan arranged us to meet this way." Savannah Roesch, on Facebook
"This gives us peace," said Katie Seper, Donovan's sister. "We know he isn't coming back but a sigh of relief knowing they are so appreciative of all that." The group is already planning to get together, and next time, Donovan's brother Brenden promised to bring a stethoscope to get a better listen to his brother's heart.
"We went to the game as six but left as nine," said Savannah. "We are family."
Note: So far this year, 10,000+ transplants have been performed in the United States according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) . But more than 111,000 people in America are currently on a waiting listing. If you haven't signed up yet to become an organ donor, click here and do it today .
(Images & video: Savannah Chavez Roesch Facebook page )