Parents of teen organ donor meet organ recipients
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On Denise Miles’ phone is a photograph of a boy she has never met—16-year-old Heath Eiland.
“One day I walked to the store and I walked back and I had to stop five times before I knew something was wrong,” Miles said.
Doctors found her aorta was leaking. Miles needed a new heart.
It was during that same time that life for the Eiland family would change forever. Their 16-year-old son Heath died after a skateboarding accident.
The Eiland family’s decision to donate Heath’s organs provided Miles with the heart she needed.
On Sunday, more than a year after the accident, at St. Albert Church in North Austin, Denise Miles met for the first time the family of the boy whose heart saved her life.
“I was looking forward to this day, I will never forget this day,” Miles said.
Heath’s donated organs have saved six people.
"I don't want anyone to suffer what we're going through over the loss of our child when they could be helped by someone being an organ donor," Heath’s mother Rebecca Eiland said.
For Rebecca, it was a moment she had to hear to believe.
"I wanted to hear my son's heart beating for Denise," she said.
While she may never know the teenager on her phone, she knows she now has two lives to live for.
“Right now my heart is beating kind of fast,” Miles said. “Because he knows he's home.”
Since the accident, Heath's family has become advocates for the use of helmets. They also hope that sharing their story will encourage more people to become organ donors.