A mom who donated her son’s organs after his tragic death got to hear his heart beating again for the very first time.
A California mom suffered a tragic loss, but somehow she found the strength to channel that loss into a way of helping other families. Heather Clark’s seven-month-old son, Lukas, passed away in June of 2013 after being abused by his babysitter’s boyfriend. In the midst of her grief, Clark knew she wanted to do whatever she could to spare other families the pain she was going through, so she decided to donate Lukas’ organs. “The only thing I could think of is I can’t save my own son, so why not save someone else’s child,” she tells Fox10 of the decision.
Lukas’ organs went on to save three children, one of whom recently met up with Clark for an amazing reunion. Four-year-old Jordan Drake was hospitalized with a congenital heart defect back in 2013, when news came that she’d be getting the miracle heart transplant she so desperately needed. She received Lukas’ heart, and she and her family recently connected with Heather Clark, almost three years later, so Clark could listen to her son’s heart beating in Jordan’s chest.
Clark not only got to hear Lukas’ heart beating, but also got a teddy bear with an audio recording of the heartbeat that she can keep with her. Jordan’s mother, Esther Gonzales, also says the two are bonded like family now, and they plan to meet up on a regular basis. Every day she’s overwhelmed with gratitude for Clark’s thoughtful act. “It’s hard to describe,” she tells Fox10. “That she would be so selfless to be able to think of another family while she’s going through her grief.”
Clark can’t provide any details about the circumstances surrounding her son’s death, as the criminal investigation is still ongoing, but she says choosing to donate his organs just seemed like the most logical choice. At the time, she says her only thought was, “There is another family out there, somewhere, you know who’s feeling something of what I’m feeling, somewhat, and I have the chance to make them not go through what I’m about to go through.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, someone is added to the transplant waiting list every 10 minutes. In 2014 alone, 1,795 kids under the age of 18 received organ transplants, but it’s estimated that for every 79 people on the waiting list who receive a transplant, up to 22 die waiting due to the shortage of donated organs.
It’s difficult at times for people to put themselves in the shoes of someone waiting for a transplant, either for themselves or for a loved one. That Clark was able to have that kind of foresight even in a time of unimaginable grief is truly incredible. Her selflessness in wanting to spare others the pain of loss is a testament to her strength and the love she had for her son. Hopefully it’s at least somewhat comforting for her to know that Lukas lives on in the three children he saved.