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Heart transplant recipient meets donor family

It was an emotional meeting in Fresno over the weekend when a heart transplant recipient met the family of the organ donor 5 1/2 years later.
(Joe Ybarra reporting)

There an emotional meeting in Fresno over the weekend when the gift of life brought two families together.

An organ donation changed the lives of two families 5 1/2 years ago.

Nancy Hendrix tried to fight back the tears when meeting the woman whose life was saved by her daughter's death. "It's sad, brings back memories of 5 1/2 years ago," said Nancy.
 
Nancy's daughter, Cassandra, died when she was just 28-years-old. "She had a massive stroke and was brain dead," said Nancy.
 
Cassandra was an organ donor and her heart is still beating... in the chest of Debbie McLaren. "Nobody can say enough words, enough thank yous," said Debbie.
 
Nancy hugged Debbie and said, "You take care of my daughter's heart."

It's the first time these families have met. They talked about Cassandra... about her love for computers and willingness to give. "We are very happy with the fact that other people have her organs and she's living through them.'
 
Debbie talked about her life; the things she's been able to experience because of Cassandra's decision to be an organ donor. "My kids graduations, their marriages, my first grand baby... all of those things. A lot of those things I would have missed out on," said Debbie.
 
It's the gift of life. A tragic loss for Nancy, but a gift Debbie will always be thankful for.

The Hendrix family was honored after this encounter along with other donor families at a private ceremony.
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