It was Elizabeth Stone who said, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
And it was April Beaver who selflessly allowed her son’s heart keep a dad walking around for his sons.
Caleb Beaver, April’s son, died last Christmas Day at just 16 years old. And just last week his mom was able to hear his heart beat again — in another person’s body, according to the New York Daily News (via WLOX-TV).
Unbeknownst to the Beaver family, Caleb had a condition that negatively affected his circulatory system, known as arteriovenous malformation, which he’d either had since before birth or shortly thereafter.
They only found out he was sick on December 23, 2011, and he died two days later.
Soon thereafter, after April said she prayed she could hear her son’s heartbeat again, she got a letter from a man named Dr. Chuck Shelton, a doctor from Kentucky who had received Caleb’s heart since the Beaver family generously agreed to donate some of his organs. Caleb’s heart saved Dr. Shelton’s life — he had been diagnosed with an inflammatory disease and had been waiting months in the hospital to learn if he’d receive a donor heart — and last week he got to thank them in person.
Dr. Shelton flew to Gulfport Biloxi International Airport, which is near where the Beavers live, and let April listen to Caleb’s heart in his chest with a stethoscope.
“That’s Caleb,” April wept as she listened to the heartbeat, according to WLOX-TV.
“It’s very strong,” Dr. Shelton replied, saying he’s doing better than he had been in years with Caleb’s heart. “This heart is amazing. It’s given me life so I can be with my wife and boys. Caleb still lives through me. Caleb’s in heaven, but he’s still here.”
“That’s what Caleb would have wanted,” April said.
Dr. Shelton, his wife and two sons spent the weekend getting to know the Beaver family better and to help spread the word on organ donation.
Are you an organ donor?
More from Meredith on Strollerderby:
- ‘The Daddy Saddle’ and Other Hazardous Toys that Make Me Glad I Wasn’t a Parent in the ’50s and ’60s