Mother hears son's donated heart beat in Navy veteran's chest - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Mother hears son's donated heart beat in Navy veteran's chest

The woman is urging others to consider organ donation. (Source: Melinda Dillon/WSLS/CNN) The woman is urging others to consider organ donation. (Source: Melinda Dillon/WSLS/CNN)

SALEM, VA (WSLS/CNN) – A mother who lost her son two years ago is now talking about her experience hearing his heart beat in another man’s chest and encouraging other families to consider organ donation.

Melinda Dillon remembers her son, 21-year-old Lucas, as full of life and energy. She says he had many friends, but most didn’t know about Lucas’ decade-long struggle with mental illness until he took his own life.

"His blood type and mine both were B-positive and part of his notation to us when he committed suicide was to stay positive,” Dillon said. "It's been hard. It's hard to stay positive."

Dillon got her son’s last message tattooed on her wrist along with his heartbeat, a rhythm she was able to hear in another man’s chest after Lucas’ heart was donated.

"If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't even be talking to you right now,” said Dave, a 56-year-old Navy veteran, who was suffering from congestive heart failure.

Lucas’ heart now beats in Dave’s chest, something for which the 56-year-old says he’s thankful for every day.

"I was gone. I was dead gone, you know. I wasn't supposed to be here. Before Lucas, I wasn't supposed to be here,” Dave said.

Dillon reached out to Dave, and they met in person, where the mother was able to hear Lucas’ donated heart, beating in Dave’s chest.

"That heart started out in me. Lukie's love because of that heart is just continuing to beat every single day,” Dillon said.

That familiar heartbeat created a unique bond.

"He's just another member of our family now,” Dillon said.

Now, the mother is encouraging others to follow in her son’s footsteps by donating.

"I think Lucas taught us we just have to give back. We have to stay positive and give back to somebody else,” Dillon said. "If you can make a difference for one person, that's all that matters."

Copyright 2018 WSLS, Melinda Dillon via CNN. All rights reserved.

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