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Mom Finds Son Dead from Drug Overdose, Hears His Heartbeat Again 1 Year Later

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Ryan Anderson’s family was devastated when they learned of his death. The 33-year-old died of a drug overdose in February of last year.

Although Ryan wasn’t on the organ donor’s list, his family decided Ryan would have wanted his death to mean something.

They signed him up so he could help others through his untimely passing.

“His heart was huge, he’d do anything for anyone,” Laurie Anderson said. “He was generous to a fault.”



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Ryan’s family didn’t want his legacy to end with his death. They wanted to meet the people who Ryan’s organs had saved.

Through the donor program The Gift of Life, the Andersons were able to get in contact with two of the five people who received six of Ryan’s organs.

One year later, Ryan’s mother was able to find closure by hearing her son’s heartbeat in Peter Archangel’s chest.

“I thought all week, what am I going to say to them?” Archangel reflected. “Thank you is just not enough.”

The 64-year-old was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and was awaiting a heart transplant in the hospital.

“They came in the room and started clapping around 1 a.m. after I had left and when I got that call, I knew … it would be another 10-hour surgery we’d have to make it through,” Peter’s wife, Priscilla, said.

Joel Renauer received Ryan’s lungs. He was on the waiting list for five months before Ryan’s death.

For Ryan’s family, the experience of meeting these people was incredibly healing. They lost their son, but now they got to see the good that came out of their sadness.

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“It was hard for me until I received a letter from Priscilla saying thank you and that when she found out there was a heart, she ran back to the hospital and her and Peter held each other until the sun came up,” Laurie said.

“That’s when my grief turned into joy knowing someone else was saved because of my son.”

“I tell my wife I have the heart of a 30-year-old but I still have 60-year-old legs,” Archangel told Detroit News.

“Meeting them filled a hole inside me I didn’t know was there.”

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