Giving the gift of life: Family of organ donor meets man that received heart
COBDEN, IL (KFVS) - When it comes to giving the gift of life, it can come in many forms. It can happen at your birth, when you donate blood or your organs and tissues.
An organ donor can save up to eight people's lives with their own.
On November 18, 2008 the Quertermous family in Cobden found out just how precious life can be for themselves, and people they have never even met.
Thirty-seven-year-old Tommy Quertermous was killed in a farming accident on that day, he was also an organ donor.
"I think it's a wonderful program. And I'm proud of my son for electing to do that," Larry Quertermous said. "But it was very hard for me to say do it when it came down to it."
This past Sunday, for the first time they all got to meet the man who received Tommy's heart, Larry Bonds.
"I come from a large family of love. And we automatically connected because of the love they've shown to me," Bonds said. "So it was an easy fit for us to come together with Tom's heart."
"The first thing I told the girls was let me just sit down here and talk to you about what me and your dad have been doing," he said.
For Tommy's daughters getting to know Larry is very important to them too.
"It's been a lot easier because I know that my dad is still alive somehow," Jaycie Quertermous said. "Because I was really close to my dad, having ten years to make memories with him. And then him passing away and not knowing what to do. It's a lot easier you know that your dad is still there somehow for you."
Both families are now looking forward to sitting down for many more dinners in the years ahead.
"I think it's a wonderful thing. I think that knowing my Dad still lives on in someone is wonderful," Logan Quertermous said. "Yes losing him was really had, but gaining another family had made it a little more comforting. Even though there are still times where it's really an emotional thing. And I still miss him. But knowing he's still here is awesome."
As a recipient Bonds said he now advocates for organ donations. And is planning on helping the girls with their efforts to raise awareness about how important it is to give the gift of life.
"It's a powerful decision, it's a grateful decision," he said. "When people ask you at the motor vehicle registry would you like to be an organ donor, I would suggest to you to look at that as life saving decision. Because it saved my life."
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