(CBS) — A heart-wrenching tragedy has turned into a heart-warming gift of life.
CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez was there when a Great Lakes woman reunited with the family of her organ donor in north suburban Libertyville Monday.
There were tears and hugs from the family of Ashley Swart, the organ donor who saved Melody McIntosh’s life.
“I was born again when I received Ashley’s heart on my birthday,” Melody says. “I’m just so grateful. I will live every day in honor of her.”
Ashley Swart’s family say was a beautiful, loving 20-year-old — a Purdue student from Cedar Lake, Ind. When she died from a brain aneurysm with no warning the loss was excruciating.
The decision to donate her organs was easy. It was Ashley’s wish.
“She just lit up a room when she entered,” Kelly Swart, Ashley’s mother, says.
McIntosh, once so ill from a bad heart valve that her family was approached to possibly donate her organs, would instead be on the receiving end of an organ donation.
She credits the team at Advocate Condell Medical Center with keeping her alive long enough to get her new heart. It’s a heart the Swart family calls the best in the whole world.
They should know.
“As hard as it is, it’s good to know that Melody is so grateful, and she’s really deserving of it,” Kelly Swart says.
While Melody was eager to meet her donor’s family, standard rules are to wait one year. In this case, the family reached out to her.