SOUTH HADLEY (CBS) – A man from Massachusetts is alive thanks to the heart transplant he received from a 16-year-old. The South Hadley man recently sent a touching gift to the Virginia teenager’s family to help them keep their loved one’s memory alive.
Robert O’Connor’s life was saved by a transplant from Dakota Reid, who died in a car crash just over a year ago. To thank Dakota’s family, he recorded the sound of his heartbeat and put it into a stuffed Build-A-Bear that the teenager’s parents can listen to at any time with the squeeze of a paw.
A video of John Reid listening to his son’s heartbeat went viral after his wife Stephanie posted it.
O’Connor said he wanted the Reid family to still be able to feel Dakota’s presence, so he teamed up with Tufts Medical Center to record his heartbeat.
“I got the heart. I got my life back,” said O’Connor.
The Reid family says it is so comforting to know their son lives on, and they plan to meet O’Connor in person for the first time soon.
“Someday in the future we will meet so they could hear their heart and I said hopefully this will help until we can meet,” said O’Connor.
For now, O’Connor is looking forward to having his life back.
“Just being able to get outside, walk, do anything. Go swimming with my granddaughter in my pool. Just getting back to life,” he said.
O’Connor isn’t the only person who Dakota helped save. John Reid said he has been contacted by a farmer who received Dakota’s kidney and pancreas, as well as a 21-year-old man who can now see thanks to Dakota.