LANSING, Ill. (CBSNewYork) – Organ donor families and organ recipients are usually kept anonymous from each other.
But occasionally, with the consent of both sides, a reunion happens.
This is a story of how a father turned the tragedy of his son’s death into something positive he could see and hear with his own eyes and ears.
It took six years for Craig Clark to meet the young man who got his son’s heart.
“Taquan, how you doing? Finally get to meet you,” Craig said as he shook hands and hugged the man who got his son’s heart. “Let me take a listen to your heart.”
He really wanted to hear his son’s heart beat again.
“You can hear movement. You can hear the beat. You can know that’s something living,” Craig said. “Amazing.”
After Craig’s son Jonathan took his own life, he wanted something good to come from the tragedy.
“A part of Jonathan would always live on, through others,” he said.
Now Craig feels like Taquan is also his son.
“I want to say how grateful I am,” Taquan said.
“I know you are,” Craig replied.
They’ve talked on the phone, but this was their first meeting in person, at a YMCA on Chicago’s west side.
“I’m just blessed that my son lives on through others,” Craig Clark said.
But Jonathan Clark helped save even more lives. Jaiwan Davis-Harbour, 17, received a kidney from Jonathan when he was just 12.
“Little bumps in the road, but it’s doing its part,” Davis-Harbour said.
And 43-year-old Marc Butler, a diabetic and father of six, received Jonathan’s pancreas and other kidney.
“None of us would be here without this,” Butler said.
It was the first time they were all together in the same place.
“It’s so wonderful to see someone sacrifice, to give to someone who needed it,” Davis-Harbour said.
“There’s a lot of good in the world, even if a lot of times it don’t seem like it,” Butler said.
There are more than 120,000 people waiting for organs right now. A single donor like Jonathan Clark can help save the lives of up to eight people.
Tissue like skin, bone and corneas from the same donor can enhance the lives of another 50 people.