Melissa had the opportunity to meet her donor’s family and friends this past weekend. She agreed to do a guest blog post for us on her experience. Be certain to check in with Melissa’s blog posts on Revive Hope from time to time as her journey continues. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us, Melissa! -Joslyn
I saw the Carolina Blue sky this past weekend when visiting my heart donor’s family in Chapel Hill, NC. It’s not too often that recipients get the chances I’ve had. First of all, 3 years I got the call for my new heart which was a miracle itself. Later, I learned about my donor through letters from her family. And just this year, my donor’s parents, Jon and Linda, made the very big decision to come meet me in Chicago and cheer me on as I participated in the Hustle up the Hancock. In turn, I was invited to their hometown for a choir performance in their daughter Chloe’s honor. Since the day she saved my life, she has always been a hero and this past weekend, I met others who felt she was their hero too. Chloe was the type of person who took the unpopular kids under her wing and made them feel welcomed at school. She was the girl out on the Lacrosse field scrapping and fighting for a win. She was a good listener and sometimes, her friends visit her grave just to talk to her because they know she’s listening. She was hoping to inherit her dad’s car and learn to drive. Every summer she played with her friend Victoria on Cobb Mountain in California. Chloe had a beautiful singing voice, one so pure that she would have been the soloist in her own song titled “The Heart Within.” The song was created out of a poem she’d written in fifth grade and was modified and conducted by her former Choral Director, Anthony who adored Chloe so much, that he created the piece for her. The final line of the song is “the heart within is you.” If I could look her in the eyes today, I’d say those exact words back to her.
Aside from the wonderful performance of Chloe’s song , we had a full tour of the area. Jon is passionate about getting Chloe’s story out in the public space so we went on the Noon TV News on Chanel 5, we’re interviewed live on the Bill and Lynda Radio show on Mix 101.5 and I got to throw out the first pitch at the Durham Bulls game! We reserved a suite at the game and 17 of Chloe’s closest friends joined us for a night to remember and honor Chloe. They listened to my heart, told me about their college dreams and even said that Chloe would approve of my style. It was a wonderful compliment.
This experience has reinforced my belief that truly good people do exist in this world. I’m happy they were a part of Chloe’s life while she was here and I’m thrilled about carrying on her legacy and showing others how this gift saves lives. Every time I look up at the sky on a clear day, I’ll think of Carolina Blue and the heart within.