Middle Tennessee mom hears son’s heartbeat in organ recipient

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A Middle Tennessee mom got an unforgettable gift on Valentine’s Day—the opportunity to listen to her son’s heartbeat inside the body of the woman whose life he saved. 

In May 2017, Wendy Hartley’s 21-year-old son Kevin died from chemical poisoning while he was refinishing a bathtub. 

The Hermitage woman decided to donate his organs and tissues, which saved four lives and healed many others.  

His heart was donated to Rhonda Lucas, a Johnson City nurse who was brought back to life when she received Kevin’s heart.  

The women met for the first time on Valentine’s Day at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for the unveiling of the hospital’s organ donor memorial where Hartley got to hear her son’s heartbeat once again.  

“This is my son’s heart that is keeping someone else alive, and that’s just amazing that that can happen,” said Hartley. 

“I feel like I’m closer to Kevin, I feel like I have a sister, another sister in the family,” said Lucas. 

Kevin’s grandfather’s live was also saved by an organ donor.  

Valentine’s Day is National Donor Day, which aims to raise awareness of the lifesaving benefits of organ, eye and tissue donation. 

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