Heart transplant recipient meets Donor’s family, mother hears her daughter’s heartbeat again

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A mother heard her daughter’s heartbeat for the first time since she passed away. 

It was an emotional meeting at Saint Thomas West, as a heart recipient met her heart donor’s mother. 

Joni Launer took deep breaths as she waited on a couch for the introduction. A breath that she may not have ever been able to take if it weren’t for her donor. 

Launer, who is a wife, mother, and grandmother, found out suddenly early last year that her heart was failing. 

She says it got so bad that her family was counting the days that she had left, before the doctor came in and said they found a possible heart. 

The heart was that of 47-year-old Tiffanie McClendon. 

“Her heart of an angel went into another angel,” her mother Nancy McClendon cried.   

The heartbroken mother recalled the day Tiffanie had an aneurism, saying her little girl hadn’t spoken since she was a baby. 

“She raised her little hand up, looked up at God and waved and then she said bye-bye mama and in six and a half minutes she was gone.” 

Nancy says she has struggled with the loss, but today her hope was renewed as she put on the stethoscope and listened to her daughter’s heart beat once again. 

Launer’s mother and sister came in town for the meeting, they say they are now one big family. 

According to DCI Donor services, 22 people die every day waiting for a transplant. Right now, there are more than 100,000 on the waiting list and they say a name is added to the list every 10 minutes.  

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