Organ Recipient Meets Donor's Family

Woman receives heart from 20-year-old Purdue student who died of brain aneurysm

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    NEWSLETTERS

    8/4-2014: A North Shore woman is getting to know the family of the organ donor who saved her life. (Published Monday, Aug 4, 2014)

    A North Shore woman is getting to know the family of the organ donor who saved her life.

    Melody McIntosh suffers from a heart condition and was badly in need of a new organ in September 2013.

    On her 41st birthday, she was on life support when she received that much-needed heart from Ashley Swart, a 20-year-old Purdue University student.

    Swart died suddenly of a brain aneurysm, but as a registered organ donor, her organs helped save the lives of four people, including McIntosh.

    McIntosh has been to Indiana to visit with Swart's parents, and Monday they met again at Advocate Condell Medical Center.

    Kelly Swart says knowing McIntosh helps them cope with the loss of their daughter.

    "She was wonderful. She was the oldest girl, she was absolutely wonderful, caring, bright and bubbly and she just lit up the room when she entered," Swart said.

    "She'd be so happy. As hard as this is, we had to come to honor her, we can not honor her, this is what she wanted."

    McIntosh says she intends to continue staying in touch with Ashley's parents and her two younger brothers.

    "To me to receive her heart, I just have to live every day being appreciative and spreading the news that organ donation is so important, and if everyone would do that, it would really make a difference, because of Ashley's passing, my life began again," McIntosh said.

    "I will live every day in honor of her and moving forward I'm just incredibly grateful to her and her family."