By Lisa Hughes, WBZ-TVBy Lisa Hughes

BOSTON (CBS) – It was a tragedy that brought together a woman from the Cape and another from the Caribbean. One of them lost her son, the other was given the gift of life. And now they’re in Boston spreading a message of hope.

“AJ was my only son. He was 18-years-old at the time of his death,” says Claudette Gibson. Two years ago this month AJ Gibson, who lived in the Turks and Caicos, died after suffering a head injury. At the same time, Laurel Welch, who lives on the Cape, desperately needed a new liver. “I was dying. I was in liver and renal failure,” she says. Laurel received AJ’s liver, and six other people received his other organs.

“For me it was like a bridge. Losing him and then having a part of him still around,” says AJ’s mother, Claudette. “It’s the best gift that anybody could give me,” says Laurel.

But as Laurel recovered she wondered about this person who saved her life, and about his family. “And I wanted to be able to say thank you and I am so sorry for your loss,” she says. So several months ago the two women met. “He was a son, and now she’s my daughter,” says Claudette. “She and AJ and I are a team. We’re all connected,” says Laurel.

They became fast friends, and are in Boston to support the Liver Foundation here and to encourage people to consider organ donation. “Thank you so much. You saved my life. I wouldn’t be sitting here today if it wasn’t for AJ and Claudette.

Claudette and Laurel are telling their story tomorrow night at the New England Chapter of the Liver Foundation’s “Flavors of Boston” fundraiser.

There’s also a scholarship set up in AJ Gibson’s honor in the Turks & Caicos. For more information contact:


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