The pain a parent feels when they lose a child has got to be just about the worst thing there is. Anna Hutt knows this all too well. Her 16-year-old son Payton was riding his dirt bike when he was killed by a wayward van. Just a few weeks before, Payton was getting his learner’s permit. As his mom recalled, “He said he wanted to be a donor and I told him, ‘No.’ He was like, ‘Are you telling me that if something happens to me before you, that you’re just going to put my body on the ground with my organs and let them lay there and not do anybody any good?’ I told him, you know what, if that’s what you want to do, be a donor. So he chose to be a donor. And he’s changed my outlook on it.”
Little did Anna know that at the same time she was saying goodbye to her son, a father and grandfather named Gary was face to face with his own mortality. His heart was failing and doctors only gave him a few months to live, doubting that a donor heart would become available in time. “After hearing that, I made peace with dying. There were no tears. I knew I wouldn’t live without a heart.” But only six days after being put on the donor list, a nurse told him a match had been found.
About a year after receiving Payton’s heart, Gary sent Anna a letter thanking her and letting her know how much receiving her son’s heart meant to him. They kept in touch for a couple of years before finally meeting one Mother’s Day. It was an extremely emotional day and not an easy one for Anna. She literally heard her son’s heart beating again.
Gary wasn’t the only person who got a new lease on life thanks to Payton’s decision to become an organ donor. Six others did, too.
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