Touching surprise gives Dinwiddie family chance to hear son’s heartbeat year after tragic loss

Local News

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Dinwiddie family got a heartwarming surprise this week that brought them to tears more than a year after their 16-year-old son Dakota Reid died in a tragic multi-vehicle crash. The teen’s donated organs saved five lives, including one Massachusetts man who was in need of a heart.

Reid’s parents, Stephanie and John, said their son’s wings were ready but their hearts were not. Reid’s heart would go on to save a man’s life.

“He was telling me how proud he was of me because of some of the changes that I made in my life,” J. Reid said. “At the hospital you know I laid my head on his chest a lot because I stayed there day and night, I didn’t leave.”

The man who received Reid’s heart, Robert O’Connor, gave the teen’s parents an unexpected gift that will keep their son’s heart with them forever. During his yearly checkup, O’Connor decided he wanted to record his heartbeat to send to the Reid’s family.

READ MORE: Family mourns loss of Dinwiddie student killed in multi-vehicle crash

O’Connor went to a Build-A-Bear Workshop and put the recording of the heartbeat inside a bear to give to the teen’s parents. Stephanie Reid captured her husband’s reaction while opening the surprise gift from O’Connor on Wednesday.

In the video, D. Reid’s family struggles to hold back tears while John Reid takes out the bear and presses the paw to hear their son’s heart beating.

“It felt like I was there again like he was with me you know, and uh, now I can listen to it any time I want to,” J. Reid explained.

“It’s amazing,” S. Reid told 8News. “It’s the best gift they could have given us. We feel like we have a part of him with us now.”

“I was lucky that I even got a heart,” O’Connor told 8News in a Facetime interview Thursday. “Myself and my family are so grateful for them donating their son’s organs.”

D. Reid’s corneas are helping a man see for the first time and four other lives were saved by his organs. His father is now asking others to consider being organ donors.

“He’s making changes in people’s lives,” J. Reid said. “My son is a hero.”

Reid’s family said they are “complete” knowing that their son’s organs helped save five people. O’Connor and the Reid family have already made plans to meet in person.

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