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One heart brings two families together

Jefferson, La.- One heart brings two families together. Friday at Ochsner Medical Center, an organ donor's parents heard their son's heartbeat for the first time since his death four months ago.

Kaylon Marshall's heart beats with the strength of two souls.

"I feel like I can go do anything right now," said Kaylon.

His health has completely turned around in the past four months. He used to be stuck in a hospital bed with a device to help his heart keep pumping and a diagnosis only a transplant could cure.

"After waiting a year and a half, that's a long time to wait for something, and to watch your child basically diminish," said Pamela Marshall, Kaylon's mother.

Then, four months ago a teenager Kaylon will never meet presented him with the gift of life.

Christian Nelson, a 19-year-old from Lafayette and an organ donor, died from a fall.

Now, his heart beats on.

"Obviously tragic for our family the circumstances but to see such good come from it or of it is unbelievable," said Hans Nelson, Christian's father.

One heart for two lives created the bond both families now share. It's the reason they want to meet in person.

On Friday, the two families met for the first time, connected through Christian's spirit, and created on big new family.

They sat down for, what they called, a heart to heart.

"Feels kind of good that I've got more family members that I can possibly lean on when I need help," said Kaylon.

"You can always lean on us," said Jenn Nelson, Christian's mother.

The hardest thing for Kaylon to accept was knowing that Christian had to die in order for him to live.

The comfort came from Christian's Parents.

"I do want to say, especially to Kaylon, that it was part of God's plan. Christian was going to go no matter what. Whether he was an organ donor or not. So you have, you have to remember that," said Jenn Nelson.

"The circumstances that led up to you getting the heart from Christian had nothing to do with you, but where you were after it happened had everything to do with God. Had nothing to do with anything else. So when you put your head down on your pillow tonight, and for many many many years to come, remember, this is the way it was supposed to be," said Hans Nelson.

Christian's parents found his spirit in Kaylon's compassion.

And like an old family joke, they hoped Christian's New Orleans Saints pride would out weigh Kaylon's devotion to the Dallas Cowboys.

"You know, he's going to wake up one day and it's going to be, 'you know, I don't know why but I just like the Saints now,'" Hans Nelson said.

Kaylon provided more than just a chance for Christian's parents to see the gift he's left behind after his death. He gave them the chance to hear their son's heart beat again.

"I hear it," said Jenn Nelson while using a stethoscope. "It's strong."

Kaylon was able to share the message he's wanted to express since Christian died four months ago. A message from the bottom of his heart:

"Thank you. You saved my life," said Kaylon.

In addition to Kaylon, Christian was able to save the lives of 3 other people and give sight to two others by donating his organs.

To learn about becoming an organ donor, click here.

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