Losing a child is a pain no one should ever have to endure. The Berckenhoff family was heartbroken beyond words when they lost their oldest son, 11-year-old Colton, in an accident in 2012.
At the time, Monica and Dean Berckenhoff, Colton’s parents, made the ultimate decision to donate their son’s organs.
“It wasn’t easy,” Monica told KPRC-TV. “It was a really hard decision to make because you know, that’s your family, that’s someone that you love. Colton is a hero, he’s more of hero than any person that I know, he saved more than just one life by donating his organs.”
Today, Colton would have been 18, perhaps just graduating high school and headed off to college. His life ended too soon — but there is one man who is so grateful for the choice Colton’s parents made all those years ago.
Travis Stufflebean has had multiple open-heart surgeries during his lifetime. The children’s pastor knows he wouldn’t be here today without the heart now beating inside of him — Colton’s heart.
“To me, this is just a temporary heart,” Stufflebean told KPRC-TV. “I’m just borrowing it. To me, this is where it belongs. With this wonderful and awesome family.”
The transplant recipient had the opportunity to share in this family’s milestone moment when Colton’s parents tied the knot and said “I do” before a judge in Montgomery County, Texas.
It’s thanks to Monica’s sister, Amanda McDonald, that the reunion of the parents with their son’s heart was made possible.
“He was just the sweetest kid in the entire world and he loved football and he loved the Houston Texans,” McDonald told KTRK of Colton.
With the help of her parents, McDonald made plans to have Stufflebean surprise the bride and groom on their special day. When he stepped forward and let Monica and Dean listen to Colton’s heartbeat for the first time in 7 years, tears were shed all around.
“It’s been seven years (since Colton passed) and it’s something we’ve always wanted,” Monica shared with KTRK.
A truly priceless moment and one this family will no doubt cherish for years to come. We wish them many more years of love and life with hope ahead and the memory of their son forever in their hearts.
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