NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – They started off the day as complete strangers, but two local families now share an unbreakable bon that’s far from skin deep.
In 2016, Megan Erickson went through a lifetime of sorrow in just three months. First her father died, then her little brother, and on the ever of his wake, her husband was fatally struck by a car on Long Island.
“I was leaving my cousin’s house, doing all the stuff for the wake the next morning and I was on the phone with him,” Megan said.
A few years prior, Megan pushed her husband John to sign up to become an organ donor, not knowing that eventually she would have to be the one to give the dorctors the OK to recover his organs.
“I was thinking, if there is nothing we can do with him, imagine the other person getting a phone call saying they have a chance to live,” she said.
“John saved the lives of four people,” said Heidi Evans, executive director of the nonprofit group LiveOnNY. “It’s incredible to see the life that comes from it.”
Some of Megan’s pain turned to joy on Monday, when she and her family met 66-year-old Robert Pascarelli at the LiveOnNY headquarters. Pascarelli, a retired police officer from Connecticut, received John’s heart.
“When I cam through the door, I knew she was the wife. I just had a feeling and I was just drawn to her,” Pascarelli said.
Robert gave gifts to both Megan and John’s mother. But the best gift of them all was letting both of them listen to his strong, beating heart: A small gesture compared to the gift of life John gave him.
“I mean, that’s like a miracle and a half,” John’s mother Donna Erickson said.
“John was so sweet, so giving and always wanted to help people, had a very good heart,” said Megan.
A good heart that’s still beating.
The family hopes to meet the three other people John saved through organ donation. One of them is a 10-year-old girl who received his kidneys.
April is “Donate Life Month.” To find out more information about organ donation and learn how to sign up in New York, see DonateLife.NY.gov.