The mother of a little boy who tragically died 3 years ago (from alleged abuse by a non-family member) received a very special gift this past week. She heard her little boy’s heart in the chest of a little girl whose life was saved by a transplant.
Heather Clark’s first child, Lukas, was only seven months old when he died in 2013. Heather left her baby with a babysitter to watch over him while she was out. Instead, the babysitter’s abusive boyfriend allegedly caused so many injuries to little Lukas that he was sent to Loma Linda Hospital in Rancho Cucamonga, where he died three days later.
“It was a difficult decision to sign the donor paperwork,” Clark told People Magazine. “I knew I couldn’t do anything with his organs once he passed away, so I thought why not save someone else’s life. But when I signed off permission, I knew my baby was 100-percent gone. And that was so hard.”
In an interview with CBS News, Clark said, “I knew if Lukas could prevent another family from experiencing the loss that I felt, that’s what I needed to do.”
Baby Lukas died allegedly at the hands of Ryan Anthony Garcia. According to the Daily Bulletin Garcia, 24, was arrested after his girlfriend, the babysitter, called 911 when she realized Lukas had stopped breathing.
Garcia is still behind bars in a San Bernardino County jail. He faces charges of assault and murder.
While the death of baby Lukas was a tragedy that no family should have to endure, there is a silver lining to this horrific incident. Thanks to Heather Clark’s courage and willingness to think of others during this ordeal, another baby was given a second chance at life. This baby was Jordan Drake, who is now four years old.
Jordan’s mother, Esther Gonzalez, was told in 2013 that her little 18-month-old daughter would need a new heart in order to continue living.
Jordan was born with a heart condition called, mitral valve regurgitation. This condition caused Jordan to spend most of her young life being cared for in hospitals. In her short lifetime, baby Jordan had already endured seizures, a stroke, brain hemorrhaging, and six heart surgeries.
Esther Gonzalez, 34, told People, “We were so scared. We thought she would never get a heart.”
However, the family did not have to wait long for their prayers to be answered. A heart became available less than one month later.
Esther said, “Heather was going through the most pain and sadness of her life, and she was brave and selfless to think of others at that time. She made that insanely hard decision, and we are so thankful to her and her son.”
(Esther shown below on left with Heather on the right).
In an interview with People, the two women stated they had been trying to locate each other. The two women began communicating late last year with plans of a possible in-person meeting.
“The donation was anonymous, so it was up to us to find each other,” said Clark. “We were both writing letters and social media messages trying to locate one another, but we kept missing each other until this year.”
The two families finally connected on Thanksgiving Day 2015 thanks to a Facebook message.
“I was so nervous to meet Jordan,” says Clark. “But when I finally saw her, it felt like I was meeting an old friend. I ran to her and hugged her.”
KSAZ reported that Heather cried tears of joy as she hugged Jordan and her mother, Esther Gonzalez, before placing a stethoscope to Jordan’s heart and hearing her son’s heart beat again.
“It’s hard to describe… that she would be so selfless to be able to think of another family while she’s going through her grief,” said Gonzalez.
“The sound was so strong,” Clark told People. “I could feel him there with me. He is continuing on through her, no doubt.”
Clark added that Jordan was the “happiest and most energetic little girl,” helping her realize she had made the right decision to donate her son’s organs to others.
Gonzalez said her daughter, Jordan, is too young to understand who Lukas is, but plans to explain everything to her when she is older.
“I’m going to tell her that Lukas saved her life. It’s a story about a mother’s sacrifice and a little boy’s sacrifice,” Gonzales explained. “It’s important for her to know about Lukas and to know that he gave up a lot for her to live.”
This meeting helped these two women become even closer. They may have met each other anonymously through death, but this in-person meeting made both women want to see each other as much as possible. Heather lives in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and Esther lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
“We tell each other we love each other, because we are in this life together now,” said Gonzalez. “Lukas will always be here in Jordan. It’s beautiful.”
In addition to Lukas’ heart saving Jordan’s life, he saved two other lives with the donation of his liver and kidney.
The grateful mom adds, “I can’t express how important organ donation is. Why would you not do something heroic before you go? Why would you not save someone else’s life? Heather and Lukas saved Jordan’s life and it means everything to us.”