Family Hears Daughter's Heart Beating Again Two Years After Organ Donation

The family of Brooke Dawkins met the woman who received their daughter's heart.

ByABC News
March 1, 2016, 4:26 PM

— -- The family of a Florida teen who died in 2014 was able to hear her heart beat again after meeting the woman who received the transplanted organ.

Chris and Laura Dawkins met Carol Wright last month just under two years after their daughter Brooke Dawkins was killed in automobile accident. Wright, who had her heart damaged by a heart attack in 2001, was weeks away from death when she got the life-saving organ donation in 2014. She first reached out to the couple last year to share her story and to learn more about the family.

"To see her in person and being able to hug her and feel Brooke's heart, it was indescribable," Laura Dawkins told ABC News.

Brooke Dawkins, 19, was severely injured after being hit by a car near her campus at the University of Central Florida in February 2014. Her parents said she was on life support for 10 days before they agreed to take her off life support and donate her organs.

"She was full of life and loved life," Laura Dawkins said of her daughter. "She walked around singing and dancing and came up with witty and funny jokes."

Brooke's parents said they said they did not have any doubts about donating their daughter's organs to save another's life and that their daughter had signed up to be an organ donor when she first got her driver's license.

"She was aware that we were both organ donors," Laura Dawkins said. "It was never a discussion."

While the family had to deal with the pain of losing Brooke, they said knowing they had helped another gave them some comfort.

Although the family was secure in their decision to donate Brooke's organs, Laura Dawkins said finally meeting the woman who received Brooke's heart was slightly nerve-wracking.

The family wore "Brooke Strong" t-shirts while getting ready to meet Wright in February.

"She was walking down and we recognized her," Laura Dawkins recalled. "It was like a family member coming home almost."

Chris Dawkins said that Wright's bright and warm personality reminded him of his daughter and that the family is happy to keep in touch with Wright and meet her extended family as well.

"She seems to really want to continue the relationship with us and be a part of her life," Dawkins said. "She said, 'You’re not getting rid of me and I said I don’t want to.'"

They also said they were touched to meet Wright's young grandchildren, one of whom was born just before they traveled to Florida. The most emotional moment of the trip came when Wright let the family listen to her donated hear beat through a stethoscope.

"I was a little apprehensive by how it would be received Carol, but one shot of her face she was grinning from ear to ear," Chris Dawkins recalled of the moment he was able to hear his daughter's heart again. "I think it’s a natural emotion to want to hear that heart beat again just like we want to see our child again."

Wright said she was happy to help bring some comfort to the Dawkins family.

"I thought, 'Yes, this is your daughter you have every right," Wright recalled thinking in that moment. "I want you to know you have every right to hear it or feel it. To be close to your daughter or be close to your sister."

Both families say they are happy to stay in touch. The Dawkins family is also eager to share Brooke's story through their Brooke Strong Foundation to raise awareness about organ donation.

Chris Dawkins said he hopes every family has a conversation about organ donation, even with a young person.

"They need to make sure they have this conversation and I’m hopeful that the conversation is about how important organ donation is," he told ABC News.