Mother hears deceased son's heartbeat again in donor recipient - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Mother hears deceased son's heartbeat again in donor recipient

April Beaver listens to her deceased son Caleb's heart, beating in donor recipient Chuck Shelton's chest, through a stethoscope. (Courtesy WLOX.com) April Beaver listens to her deceased son Caleb's heart, beating in donor recipient Chuck Shelton's chest, through a stethoscope. (Courtesy WLOX.com)

GULFPORT, MS (AP) -- April and Owen Beaver didn't think they would ever hear their son Caleb's heartbeat again after the 16-year-old died on Christmas Day.

But this past week, the Beavers and their family met and hugged the man who received Caleb's heart. The couple had donated many of their son's organs. Tears were streaming down everyone's cheeks as the Beavers met Chuck and Amy Shelton and their sons at the Gulfport airport.

"I can't even describe it," April Beaver said, her voice choked. "I can't even put it into words. I recognize it. It's such a strong heartbeat."

"Thank you for this gift," Chuck Shelton said quietly.

Caleb had a condition known as arteriovenous malformation, which is defects in the circulatory system that develop either before a baby is born or soon after. His parents never knew he had the problem until he became ill Dec. 23 while they were visiting family in Arkansas.

He suffered two strokes and was airlifted to Memphis, but he slipped into a coma, and doctors told his parents he was brain dead. Caleb was taken off life support two days later, and his parents donated his heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, pancreas and his skin tissue.

Chuck Shelton, a psychiatrist in Lexington, Ky., had been diagnosed with an inflammatory disease that causes the formation of clumps of cells similar to scar tissue. He waited months to hear about a donor heart and spent nearly two months in the hospital in Lexington.

On Dec. 26, he received Caleb's heart. He wrote a letter to the Beavers to thank them, and the two families began communicating in June, which led to last week's meeting.

The family was nervous as they watched people walk through the airport terminal, but when they spotted the Sheltons, April Beaver ran to Shelton and hugged his neck, listening for the sound she hadn't heard in eight months.

The Beavers then pulled out a stethoscope to hear their son's heart once again. April hesitated a moment before putting the stethoscope on Shelton's chest, then dissolved into tears.

"This heart is amazing," Shelton said. "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."

The families were happy to meet, but all agreed the day was bittersweet.

"It's kind of like the dream meets the nightmare," Amy Shelton said. "It's hard for them, and I can see their pain."

Sandra Laird, Caleb's maternal grandmother, agreed.

"It's hard because the heart is still beating, but it's not beating inside Caleb."

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Woman and child shot in early morning double shooting, suspect arrested

    Two people are injured and a suspect is in custody following a double shooting in the Seventh Ward, according to the New Orleans Police Department. 

    more>>

    Two people are injured and a suspect is in custody following a double shooting in the Seventh Ward, according to the New Orleans Police Department. 

    more>>
  • Police find 1 dead after shooting in St. Roch neighborhood

    Police find 1 dead after shooting in St. Roch neighborhood

    The New Orleans Police Department is investigating an early morning shooting in the St. Roch Neighborhood. The shooting was reported at the intersection of North Prieur and Franklin Avenue. Initial reports say one victim was found dead at the location. NOPD is investigating the incident and has not provided any additional information at this time. 

    more>>

    The New Orleans Police Department is investigating an early morning shooting in the St. Roch Neighborhood. The shooting was reported at the intersection of North Prieur and Franklin Avenue. Initial reports say one victim was found dead at the location. NOPD is investigating the incident and has not provided any additional information at this time. 

    more>>
  • Firefighters save Mandeville crane operator submerged in canal

    Firefighters save Mandeville crane operator submerged in canal

    Source: Fox 8Source: Fox 8

    Firefighters with St. Tammany Fire District #4 conducted a water rescue in Mandeville Thursday.  Firefighters were dispatched to the scene where they found a crane had overturned and was submerged in a canal. According to the report, the operator was still underwater. Within four minutes of dispatch, firefighters arrived on scene. Along with the assistance of some of the work crew members, firefighters were able to quickly get the crane operator out of the water and to Fire D...

    more>>

    Firefighters with St. Tammany Fire District #4 conducted a water rescue in Mandeville Thursday.  Firefighters were dispatched to the scene where they found a crane had overturned and was submerged in a canal. According to the report, the operator was still underwater. Within four minutes of dispatch, firefighters arrived on scene. Along with the assistance of some of the work crew members, firefighters were able to quickly get the crane operator out of the water and to Fire D...

    more>>
Powered by Frankly