get the tissues

A Grieving Mom Hears Her Late Daughter's Heartbeat In Donor Receiver's Chest

A 68-year-old Illinois man received the daughter's heart from a transplant operation.

A mom who lost her daughter to asthma was able to listen to her child's heart beat in the chest of h...
YouTube / ABC 7 Chicago

Losing a child is an unimaginable loss, but what if you had the chance to hear their heartbeat one more time? For one Indiana woman, that became a reality. Amber Morgan lost her daughter — Andreona Williams, 20 — when she died from asthma complications. Williams was an organ donor.

Four years after Williams’ heart was transplanted into now 68-year-old, Tom Johnson, the grieving mother was able to listen to her daughter’s heartbeat in Johnson’s chest.

In a rare meeting at a Chicago hotel, which was arranged by The Indiana Donor Network, according to the Chicago Tribune, Morgan listened through a stethoscope that was pressed to Johnson’s chest.

“As a mother, you listen to your child’s heartbeat when you carry them, and I don’t think you ever ask to hear it again,” she said. “It’s amazing.”

Johnson, who received the heart after almost a lifelong battle with a weak heart, says that this moment was a long time coming for him, noting that he prayed for the moment.

“This is just a big blessing for me to meet Amber,” he said. “I was praying virtually every night that this would happen. I always referred to my donor, and now I have a name. It’s just unbelievable beyond words.”

“Sometimes it takes like months or even longer to get this going,” Tom continued. “I was so excited. I couldn’t miss it.”

Johnson who lives in Kankakee, Illinois, said he sent a letter to Morgan in 2019, about a year after he received the heart transplant at Loyola University Medical Center. He wanted to express his gratitude for the family’s decision to donate the heart, according to the Associated Press.

“It opened up a whole new world of possibilities,” Johnson said. “It’s just unbelievable. I mean, I can work out in the garden, ride the bike. My sons can’t believe how quick I can go.”

Johnson’s wife, Sharon, also vouched for the transplant receiver, cutely mentioning that he takes good care of “her” — an homage to Andreona, as if she lives inside his chest as more than just an organ.

“He takes very special care of her,” she said. “He never misses his heart medication. Never.”