Nicholas Peters, 25, died in a car accident almost two years ago and her mother, Maria Clark, decided to donate her organs to help someone in need. “I said: ‘We can’t bury all this magic, we have to share it,'” the woman told the portal “Good Morning America”.
“He was always a people person, helping everyone, going out of his way to make sure you knew you were special,” the Madisonville, Louisiana woman added.
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After discussing it with her family, Maria donated her son’s organs to people across the country, unaware that one of them was less than a three-hour drive away.
In September 2020, in nearby New Iberia, LouisianaJean Paul Marceaux, 14, was waiting for the opportunity to undergo his second heart transplant.
The boy suffered from a condition called cardiomyopathy, which causes his heart to pump blood with less force than normal, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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His first transplant lasted ten years before it began to fail. The minor’s mother, Candance Armstrong, said that by June 2020, he had to be admitted to the hospital again, until he received the long-awaited call.
“It’s such a dichotomy. You expect it because it will sustain your child’s life, but you know what it is (…) I know that another mother is going through what I have been praying that it does not happen to me. It’s a very unusual circumstance to be in,” Armstrong said.
Candance said they hadn’t heard from the family that donated the first heart to her son, but less than a year after the second transplant, they received a letter from Maria Clark. “For Jean Paul to actually meet a person and connect with him and the family, it was the first time that had happened to us,” she added.
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Both mothers immediately connected and began to correspond regularly. Clark recalls one time when she received a video of Jean Paul dancing at her prom and said, “That’s Nick. She’s getting it, that’s Nick.”
The families agreed to meet and, although they had to wait due to the pandemic caused by the COVID-19, on May 14, 2022 they were able to hug for the first time. “She came in and just hugged me. He gave me a big hug, just like Nick did,” Clark said. “And then hearing the heartbeat, it was so strong and so full of life.”
“It came out through the stethoscope so loud, just beating like a drum,” he said of Jean Paul’s heartbeat. She “she was so connected to him because she looked so much like Nick.”
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Armstrong says he considers Clark, his children and grandchildren, part of his “forever” family, and even has photos of Nicholas in some corners of the house, including in Jean Paul’s room.
Clark said that while she misses her son “every day,” she finds comfort in knowing he is now helping so many other people lead healthy lives. “I just know that she is in heaven, dancing and looking down saying, ‘Well done,’” she added.