Two years ago, Becky Turney from Alaska experienced the worst day of her life when her son Triston died, aged just 19. But despite the pain, Becky had no choice but to carry on with her life. Two years after her son’s death, she married the man of her dreams, Kelly Turney. Of course, on such a special day, Becky was thinking of Triston with every step she took, and the 40-year-old left a chair empty for her son with the following message:
But the surprise that her boyfriend Kelly had prepared for her that day left her literally speechless.
Minutes before the ceremony began, Kelly said he wanted to introduce her to someone. That someone was 21-year-old Jacob Kilby, who had flow from San Diego just to meet her. When Becky saw him, she immediately burst into tears, because she already knew who he was.
Following Triston’s death, Becky has decided to donate his organs to help people waiting for transplants. This kind gesture allowed five people to go on living. One of them was Jacob who, in October 2015, received Triston’s heart. Becky’s boyfriend had been planning a meeting with Jacob for months, because if he was present on the most special day of their lives, a part of Triston would also be there with them: his heart.
The moment when they met is almost indescribable. Becky could hear her son’s heart beating once more, using a stethoscope. Although Triston was no longer alive, his heart was beating, right there, next to her. She said excitedly, «I lost my mind. I squealed like a little girl. I jumped up and down. It was incredible. I’ve never ever been surprised like that, like ever. I’m the girl who secretly unwraps all the Christmas presents under the tree and puts them back. So for him to pull this off was just incredible.»
Jacob was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and had to undergo surgery three times before his first transplant when he was just two years old. But in 2015, his heart began to deteriorate and, shortly afterwards, he suffered a heart attack. He was put on the list for a transplant, and in October of that year underwent successful surgery to have Triston’s heart transplanted. For Becky, knowing that her son has been able to save the lives of Jacob and four other people, is wonderful. She says, «Everyone has a legacy, but to see how Triston changed Jacob’s life is just incredible. It makes you super proud.»
Kelly hopes this gift for his wife will help others consider organ donation. «It’s the most selfless act you can do for another person. And we would encourage other families of donors and recipients to reach out, because there’s a lot of healing that goes on,» he said. For Jacob, he feels there is a unique connection between a recipient and the donor’s family. «It’s an ever-lasting bond,» said the 21-year-old.
No wonder that, after Becky and Kelly’s wedding, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Losing a son is a tremendous blow to any parent, but thanks to her new husband, Becky was able to have her son by her side on one of the most special days of her life.
And of course, Jacob did not hesitate, not even for a second when he was asked to attend the ceremony. After all, this family had given him a new life. And what started as a sad story has a happy ending, showing there are many ways in which you can have a good heart.