Stranger Approaches Organ Donor’s Family at Baseball Game, Reveals He Received Their Late Brother's Heart


Donovan Bulger was a 21-year-old who had, as his sister said in her Facebook post, “a heart of pure gold.” He passed away in 2016, but not before making a life-changing decision to become an organ donor.

Though he never met the people who benefited from his generous decision, his family knows he’s been a game changer for several people.

April 28 was Transplant Awareness Day at the Busch Stadium St. Louis Cardinals game, so Savannah Roesch, Bulger’s sister, along with Bulger’s other siblings, decided to attend in his honor.

They wore bright shirts with pictures of Bulger that they had specially made to honor their brother — and those shirts proved to be the link that joined them to another game attendee.

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“We got tickets to the Cardinal’s game for the Donate Life day,” Roesch wrote on Facebook. “All that know me know that I do not like baseball! But we go to honor my baby brother!!”

“We got our group picture taken & as I’m giving my email address to the photographer to send the copy to me I hear a woman as ‘Are you Donovan’s family?’ I didn’t really think much of it. I thought that it was someone that worked with him or knew him from school.

“It was the recipient of Donovan Bulger ‘s heart!!!!!!!!!” Roesch wrote. “His daughter recognized the picture on our shirts & told her mom she thinks it’s Donovan’s family!!!!

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“Without hesitation her mom came up to us & asked because they were just as eager to know who we were just as we were eager to meet them!! We were all in COMPLETE SHOCK & AWE!!!”

The recipient was 65-year-old John Sueme, who’d received Bulger’s heart in 2016 after years of heart failure.

He told CNN that he wasn’t allowed to give the donor’s family his name, but he still made sure to reach out to them.

“I followed guidelines,” he said, “I can’t name myself, it was a general letter thanking them for this tremendous gift. Several months later I received a letter from Savannah and enclosed were two pictures of Donovan.”

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One of those pictures was the same picture on the family’s shirts. Without them, these two groups might have never made contact.

“It was the best $100 tickets we ever bought,” Katie Seper, Bulger’s sister, told CNN. “It was very surreal.”

The meet-up was perfect and emotional. As Roesch said, “We went to the game as six but left as nine. We are family.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking