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Family of organ donor meets heart recipient at baseball game — completely by chance

Donor's family, heart recipient meet by chance

A heart transplant recipient and his organ donor's family had an emotional encounter at a baseball game — and it was completely by chance.

The donor's sister, Savannah Chavez Roesch, said it was a day she will never forget, and she shared the now-viral story on Facebook. "So most of you already know my brother was an organ donor," Roesch wrote. "A year ago we received a letter from the recipient of his heart."

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The anonymous heart transplant recipient recognized Donovan's family from the photos they sent him. Savannah Chavez Roesch

The big sister said she wrote back to the donor recipient and included some photos of her brother, Donovan, "so they could put a face to his new heart." Donors and recipients cannot share any identifying information like name, age or where they live.

"It's such an intense feeling knowing you are so close to contact but really [have] no idea who they are," Roesch wrote. A year later, fate disregarded anonymity and brought the family and the heart recipient together.

Roesch explained that the family was attending the St. Louis Cardinals' "Donate Life Day" event. They all wore neon green shirts with Donovan's face on them, to honor the organ donor in their life.

"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 [say] 'Are you Donovan's family?'" Roesch wrote. "I didn't really think much of it. I thought that it was someone that worked with him or knew him from school."

The woman was the daughter of an organ recipient, and she recognized the face on the family's shirt. Her dad received Donovan's heart, she said.

Today was a day I will NEVER EVER forget!!!!! This is definitely an amazing experience & am just SO blown away!! The...

Posted by Savannah Chavez Roesch on Sunday, April 28, 2019

"We were all in COMPLETE SHOCK & AWE!!!" Roesch said. "I think everyone in the ballpark heard our cries & shrieks of complete shock & joy!!!!"

Roesch said to meet her baby brother's organ recipient was wonderful and completely random — creating a feeling she can't describe. The group took photos together, and then the heart recipient let Donovan's family listen to his heartbeat inside of his chest.

"I think Donovan arranged us to meet this way," Roesch wrote. "What are the chances of this happening?!?"

Donovan helped save a man's life, and then he brought two families together — showing that though he may have passed, his love and spirit live on.