Donor's father travels across the country to hear daughter's heartbeat
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Bill Conner is on a healing journey.
"It's only 2,600 miles. One day at a time," said Conner.
Conner is from Madison, Wisconsin and he's biking across country, to cope with the sudden loss of his 20-year-old daughter Abigail Mae, who died less than six months ago.
Around the same time Conner was saying goodbye to his daughter, across the country a young man learned his life was numbered in days.
"I couldn't grasp it. I'm thinking, I'm not really sick," said Loumonth Jack, Jr.
A seemingly vibrant and healthy Jack thought the tight sensation in his chest was just heartburn, but when the pain became unbearable, an EKG was taken. Jack was having a heart attack.
With treatment, doctors thought Jack was on the road to recovery.
His parents, Alicia and Loumonth Jack, Sr. said they were told he would bounce back. But then the worst news came. His heart was failing and fast.
"My doctors told me it was a viral infection that caused inflammation and damaged my heart," said Jack Jr.
That's where these two stories collide.
Conner's daughter Abbey was an organ donor. She died January 12, 2016. Jack received her heart the next day.
"Seeing my daughter on life support then finding out that they were matches. And four of her organs were ready to be harvested; made it a little bit easier that we were helping someone in need," Conner said.
"She saved me and I can't repay her. I wish I could but I can't. All I can do is send my love to her family," Jack Jr. said.
Now, towards the end of his biking journey, Abbey's father met the man his daughter saved and heard her heartbeat on Father's Day.
"She's alive, Jack's alive and she's alive. It's her heart."
Conner said not only is this journey about bonding with his daughter, it's to encourage every stranger he meets to become a registered donor.
"This isn't about me. This is about Abbey and helping other people in need," Conner said. "It's unfortunate she didn't have a choice on how she was gonna leave this earth but at the same time. Just like Abbey, making an impact even though she left."
Conner plans to continue his trip by biking to Florida, Abbey's final resting place.
To follow his journey or contribute CLICK HERE.
According to Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency currently there are over 120,000 waiting for an organ donation. Around 2,000 of those waiting live in Louisiana.
To find out more information about LOPA or organ donation CLICK HERE.
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