'Forever grateful': Organ donor's family finally meets recipient

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Family members who lost their son three years ago got to hear his heartbeat once again.

There wasn't a dry eye in the room when the donor family and recipient met Tuesday for the first time. Even though they aren't related, there is no doubt that now they are family.

Tears flowed and hugs lingered inside Baptist Memorial Hospital as Coasie Parker embraced Barbara Edmond, the mother of Reginald Mercer.

"That he gave the greatest gift he could give, someone's life," Edmond said. "I can't top that."

Edmond's son was the victim of a hit-and-run and lost his life at only 25 years old. She decided to donate five of his organs.

"They needed them and he had no life left anymore and they could have a second chance," Edmond said. "They could live on because of that."

Parker received his heart.

"It's a blessing to know that somebody was willing to give a gift that they didn't have to give," Parker said. "It's amazing."

Parker is the latest of 380 transplant recipients at Baptist. In February 2014 a virus attacked her heart, and she was put on the transplant list the next month.

A month later, she received Reginald's heart.

"I could feel a weight lifted off of me," Parker said. "So all I could say it was a beautiful moment."

She promises to make the most of her second chance at life with her new family by her side.

"Just to know her son's heart is in me--and a second mom--I'll be forever grateful," Parker said.

Not everyone is as lucky as Parker. Right now, there are more than 116,000 people in the United States waiting for transplants.

For more information about becoming an organ donor, click here.

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