Lifestyle & Human Interest

Father Tears Up Listening to Deceased Son's Heartbeat After Receiving Gift from Transplant Recipient


A Virginia father was moved to tears after hearing his deceased son’s heartbeat live on inside an organ transplant recipient.

John Reid recalled rushing to a hospital in Dinwiddie County in January 2019 after learning that his 16-year-old son, Dakota Reid, had been involved in a serious car crash.

Dakota did not survive his injuries and yet, in the midst of their shock and grief, his parents made the brave decision to donate their son’s organs.

“I may have lost my son but God gained one,” Reid told WTVR-TV shortly after his son’s death.

The Reid family’s decision to donate their son’s organs was life-changing for several people, including Robert O’Connor, a Massachusetts man who received Dakota’s heart.

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“I got the heart. I got my life back,” O’Connor told WBZ-TV.

During a visit to Tufts Medical Center in Boston, O’Connor was able to record his heartbeat — Dakota’s heartbeat — as a way to thank John and Stephanie Reid for allowing their son’s heart to save his life.

O’Connor placed the sound clip inside a stuffed teddy bear from Build-A-Bear and sent it to Dakota’s parents in Virginia.

Stephanie Reid recorded the emotional moment of her husband unboxing the bear and pressing a button on its paw, hearing Dakota’s heartbeat for the first time since his death.

Tears welled in the father’s eyes as he repeatedly held the bear up to his ear.

“It felt like I was there again; like he was with me you know, and now I can listen to it any time I want to,” John Reid told WRIC-TV.

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The two families have plans to meet in person, but for now, O’Connor hopes the bear will be a small source of comfort in light of their devastating loss.

“Someday in the future we will meet so they could hear their heart and I said hopefully this will help until we can meet,” O’Connor told WBZ.

John Reid said that O’Connor is not the only transplant recipient who has contacted him. A farmer reached out to say he received Dakota’s pancreas and kidney and a 21-year-old man can see for the first time thanks to Dakota’s corneas.

“He’s making changes in people’s lives,” Reid told WRIC. “My son is a hero.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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