Grieving Northshore mother of donor meets Louisiana teen saved by receiving her son’s heart
METAIRIE, La. (WVUE) - Maria Peters Clark lost her 25-year-old son Nicholas to a car accident in September 2020.
In an emotional meeting Saturday (May 14) at a Metairie restaurant, she finally got to meet the New Iberia boy in whose chest her late son’s heart continues to beat.
“I’m just feeling so much love and joy,” Clark said. “Because I know when Nick came to me at 18 when he got his (driver’s) license, he was doing a little dance and he told me if anything were to happen to him, to spread him like the stars.”
The Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA) helped set up this monumental meeting between the two families.
Candice Armstrong and her 14-year-old son Jean Paul Marceaux brought a stethoscope with them, so Clark could hear her son’s heart beat within Marceaux’s chest.
“Oh my gosh! It’s so strong! Just to know that it’s in him,” Clark said as she listened to the heartbeat.
“His heart has given life to this young little boy and his family, and so many others. I’ve gotten letters from tissue recipients and his kidney (recipient).”
Even Nicholas’ eyes are helping others see, Clark said.
“He’s given sight to two different women,” she said. “You get that call, and the doctors tell you that there’s nothing they can do for your loved one, and you have to make a choice.”
Armstrong said her appreciation was deep for what Clark had to endure.
“Of course, the conflicting realities of that day will never leave me,” Armstrong said. “And just knowing that, through their greatest pain, they decided to still give.”
Jean Paul Marceaux suffered from a virus that affected his heart when he was just 2 years old.
This is his second heart transplant, but now he’s as strong and healthy as ever.
“I like to play baseball,” he said. “I want to be on a baseball team. I like to ride my bike.”
Armstrong said of their meeting, “I just hope it gives (Clark) some comfort, that’s my ultimate hope.”
While the wound of losing a child can never fully heal, Clark said that on Saturday, her heart was full.
“I’m happy to know that this young man can live a healthy life and be vibrant and, you know, just continue on his life,” Clark said. “And I’m just so honored to be a part of that.”
For more information on how to become an organ donor, click the link here.
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