Heart transplant recipient shares tearful moment with donor's family at baseball game

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(Gray News/CNN) - In a chance encounter that had everyone in tears, a man who received a heart transplant ran into his donor's family at a St. Louis Cardinals game on the MLB team's Transplant Awareness Day.

A chance encounter at a St. Louis Cardinals game is one that two families will never forget. A heart transplant recipient shared his heartbeat with the family of the organ donor who saved his life. / Source: CNN

John Sueme suffered heart failure years before he received a life-saving transplant in 2016.

The donor of that heart was Donovan Bulger, who was just 21-years-old when he was involved in a tragic accident. One of his last wishes was to be an organ donor, according to a CNN report.

In the time following the surgery, Sueme wrote to the Bulger family to express his gratitude for the incredible second chance at life he received from Donovan.

According to a Facebook post from Savannah Chavez Roesch, Donovan’s older sister, the Bulger family could not provide any identifying information. Instead, they sent along some photos of Donovan with a note that didn't provide any information about their last name or where they lived.

Three years after the transplant, Sueme found himself at a Cardinals game to honor Transplant Awareness Day.

That’s when Sueme’s daughter noticed a family wearing bright green shirts with Donovan’s photo printed on them.

Roesch said she heard a woman ask if they were Donovan’s family. At first, she assumed the woman knew Donovan from school or worked with him.

Then she learned just how special this random encounter really was as one-by-one the family got the chance to hear Donovan’s heart beat inside Sueme’s chest.

“I think everyone in the ballpark heard our cries & shrieks of complete shock & joy!!!!” wrote Roesch.

The tearful meeting was caught on camera as Sueme embraced the Bulgers, allowing them to feel connected to Donovan through his gift of life.

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