Mother of organ donor: I know that she's given life to this manPosted: Updated:
On Valentine's Day, a Milwaukie woman's final gift saved at least four lives. She donated her heart, liver and kidneys.
Shortly after, her mother said her dream was to meet the people her daughter saved. Exactly six months later that dream has come true.
"We were hoping that someday we would be able to connect and meet the people whose lives were saved by my daughter," Cheryl Flanders said.
In late May that happened. She met Mark Williams.
"At that moment, I realized that someone lost their life and I was going to be given a second chance to live," Williams said.
He's referring to Valentine's Day. It was the day that Flanders said goodbye and that Williams got a life-saving phone call.
He had been in the hospital for 30 days at that point. His liver was shutting down. That's when he found out he was getting a transplant, and that it was a perfect match.
"I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for that decision that Melissa made when she was 16," Williams said. "If it wasn't for that moment in time, I wouldn't be here today."
He knew from the moment he was well enough to give his wife a thumbs-up that he wanted to meet his donor's family.
"Melissa will always be a part of my life," he said. "A part of her is inside me and I will never forget her."
"I have great joy and peace because I know that she's given life to this man and his family who wouldn't have him here if she wouldn't have done that for him," Flanders said.
Together, Flanders and Williams said they're using Melissa's gifts to educate about organ donation, to honor donors and to make sure she isn't forgotten.
"It's such an extraordinary to offer a part of you to someone else should anything ever happen to you," Williams said.
They plan to call it the Angel Hero Foundation, after the angel they now share.
"I've been blessed with a second chance and I've been blessed with an extended family," Williams said. "They're stuck with me now."
Flanders said she also met the woman who received Melissa's heart. She even got to listen to her daughter's heart beat again.
She still hopes to meet the two people who got her kidneys.
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