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Mother who lost her son hears his heartbeat again through transplant recipient

Mom hears son's heartbeat through recipient

Two women from Tennessee both love a man named Kevin. One woman is his mom. The other is a transplant recipient who is being kept alive by Kevin's heart. The two women met for the first time on Valentine's Day.

Kevin, Wendy Hartley's son, died in 2017. The 21-year-old was refinishing a bathtub and breathed in fumes that killed him.

Rhonda Lucas, a nurse in Johnson City, Tennessee, was experiencing heart failure around the time Kevin died. They were complete strangers, but Kevin ended up saving her life. Several of his organs were donated, and Rhonda was the fortunate recipient of his heart.  

Wendy Hartley, right, listened to her son's heart for the first time since he died. WTVF

CBS Nashville affiliate WTVF was there for Wendy's and Rhonda's emotional meeting on February 14, which is also National Donor Day.

"There he is, he saved my life," Rhonda told Wendy, as Wendy listened to the heartbeat through a stethoscope. 

"That's my baby," Wendy said with tears in her eyes. 

"I've made it so far with him, you just don't know," Rhonda said. "I just love you so much."

Wendy began smiling through the tears. "I know that rhythm," she said.

The women embraced, and Rhonda told Wendy that Kevin was her hero, which is exactly what the mom needed to hear. "Thank you for saying that," Wendy said.