-- When 49-year-old Vicki Olds' daughter, Domonique "Nikki" Smith, unexpectedly died at age 18 in June 2015, the grieving mother immediately offered to donate Nikki's heart to her friend, Tanisha Basham.
Basham, who was suffering from congestive heart failure, had been on a waiting list for a new heart for 18 months, according to the Advocate Heart Institute at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois.
"I was overwhelmed,” Basham, 41, said in a press release. Though she didn't want to accept the generous donation at first, Olds insisted and told her, 'Tanisha, you’re like my sister. You’ll always have my baby with you.'"
Basham was then immediately admitted for a direct transplantation surgery performed by Dr. Antone Tatooles and Dr. Patroklos "Pat" Pappas, according to the medical center.
The heart saved Basham's life.
Basham keeps Nikki's photo as a screensaver on her phone as a "constant reminder of who gave her a second chance at life," the medical center said.
The medical center added that when Basham goes to her frequent echocardiogram appointments, Olds accompanies her "so she can see her daughter’s heart beating in the body of her friend."
"I carried Nikki for nine months, and Tanisha’s going to carry her for the rest of her life," Olds said in the release. "When I was living through my worst nightmare on the worst day of my life, I chose to preserve the lives of others."