Two Girls Linked by One Heart

It was an accident that broke an entire community's heart. Ashley Paine, 12 years old, tumbled off her bicycle, was hit by a school bus and killed.

Thursday night, her family and her young friends said goodbye at services in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

"She always had a smile on her face," said Ashley's friend Forrest Elwood, "and if you came in and had the worst day of your life she'd just make you smile and make it one of the best days of your life. She was just wonderful."

But in the middle of this unimaginable grief, some solace came after Ashley's family donated their her organs.

Thirty miles away was another 12-year-old girl, whose life was about to be saved. The two girls had never met, but they were about to share a heart.

Jordon Hensley was born with a heart defect, and after four open-heart surgeries, her heart was starting to give out.

Late last month, her name was added to the National Transplant Registry. Just two weeks later, word came that there was a heart available for Jordon — Ashley's heart.

"She's just amazing right now," said Jordon's father, Phil Hensley. "Everybody here says she is doing excellent. She seems to be beyond where she should be. Just doing fantastic."

Jordon could not attend the funeral Thursday night, but spoke from her hospital bed. "Thank you Paine family, and I am sorry I can't be there. Hey, everybody."

As for Ashley's family, even as they mourned the loss of their beautiful daughter, they sent roses to the hospital to wish Jordon a swift recovery.

"It's absolutely amazing that they can think of our family in that way after what has gone on in their family and I just, I love 'em. I really do. I love e'm for what they have done for us," Jessica Hensley, Jordon's mother, said.

Jordon's family went to Ashley's funeral. The two families, now forever linked, met for the first time.

"It was a feeling I will never forget," Jessica said. "Very emotional. Without them, there wouldn't be a Jordon. Over time, she wouldn't have made it."

Ashley's donated organs will help five other people have new life. Find out more about organ donation at www.organdonor.org.

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