Donor heart bonds Triangle, Florida families
Al-J spent his childhood in and out of the hospital, and was hospitalized and kept on sustaining medicine since December. Then came Katelyn.Posted — Updated
She, too, was 14. Early this year, near her Florida home, Katelyn Zimmerman, was hit by a car while riding her bike. She and her younger brother, Dylan, were killed.
Their grandmother made the connection on Facebook, where she had seen Al-J's story.
"We both just knew that's where Katelyn's heart was going. We just knew," said Shawn Zimmerman, Katelyn's father.
The families exchanged messages and made a plan to meet.
"I had to do it," Shawn Zimmerman said. "For me, Savannah (Katelyn's twin) and Katelyn."
In a visit to Chapel Hill, Shawn Zimmerman and his mother got to listen to the beat of Katelyn's heart again, through a stethoscope, where it beats regularly in Al-J's chest.
His mom, Tina Turner, also heard that beat.
Shawn Zimmerman, at a loss for words to describe his emotions, turned to action. He released white balloons into the air and turned loose butterflies, symbols his daughter loved.
The families have found connection among a world often marked by chaos, Turner said.
"We have unity and no race. There is no color in this heart. It's a heart. It's love. With all that's going on, I'm glad we got to show what unity is all about," she said.
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