A Florida teen’s memory lives on through a strong heartbeat.
The family of 14-year-old Katelyn Zimmerman, who was killed by a drunk driver in March, recently met the person who received her heart, ABC 11 reported.
In the video below, Katelyn’s family listens to her heart beating inside Albert Jeffries IV. Albert, a 14-year-old from North Carolina with dilated cardiomyopathy, was flooded with emotion.
“Thank you for the gift of being able to see more in life,” Albert, whose condition means his heart struggles to pump blood, tearfully read in a letter to Katelyn’s family during their meeting. “Thank you for being my miracle.”
Butterflies and balloons were released for the occasion, and the families exchanged gifts. Tina Turner, Albert’s mother, also shared a poem expressing her gratitude.
For the late teen’s family, the event, especially the portion in which they heard Katelyn’s heart beat, proved comforting.
“It put us at peace knowing that Katelyn’s heart is still beating even though it’s not in her,” her father Shawn Zimmerman said, according to Fox8.
Reflecting on what Albert, also known as Alj, has been through because of his heart condition, Turner told ABC News that the Zimmermans’ contribution to her son meant the world.
“Alj was near death,” Turner said of her son, who had waited 99 days for a heart. “He was on two heart drips by the end. The month Katelyn died was the year Alj was reborn.”
Now, Turner says that her family is looking to pay the kindness forward by raising awareness for organ donation, Fox8 reported.
“We want everyone to see this unity and this selfless thing they did for our family. That’s love.”