Lifestyle

Man Who Received Couple's 11-Year-Old Son's Heart Surprises Them on Their Wedding Day

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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“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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Sarah Carri is an avid reader and social media guru with a passion for truth and life. Her writing has previously been published in print and online by Focus on the Family and other well known media outlets. Her experience in ministry and Disney entertainment gives her a unique perspective on such topics.
Sarah Carri is an avid reader and social media guru with a passion for truth and life. Her writing has previously been published in print and online by Focus on the Family and other well known media outlets. Her experience in ministry and Disney entertainment gives her a unique perspective on such topics.

Sarah's experience as a successful working stay-at-home mom and business owner has given her the chance to write and research often. She stays up to date on the latest in entertainment and offers her views on celebrity stories based on her wide knowledge of the industry. Her success as a former preschool teacher and licensed daycare provider lend to her know-how on topics relating to parenting and childhood education.

Her thoughts on faith and family issues stem from home life and ministry work. Sarah takes time to attend workshops and classes annually that help her to improve and hone her writing craft. She is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature program and her writing has been acclaimed by ACFW and ECPA.
Education
Institute of Children's Literature, Art Institute of Phoenix (Advertising), University of California Irvine (Theater), Snow College (Early Childhood Education)
Location
Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith




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