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Indianapolis parents hears son’s heartbeat through organ recipient

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indiana couple who lost their son saved another through organ donation.

It’s a story of second chances but also shines a light on the opioid crisis and the need for more organ donors.

It’s an interesting feeling to hear your child’s heartbeat for the first time, to then hear it again inside someone else. The Pattersons say they consider their sons heart transplant, his final act of humanity. As for Keith Thrower, he says it’s his most cherished gift.

It’s been a long time coming, but this is worth the wait. For the first time Debbie and Danny Patterson can hear their son Nick’s heartbeat again albeit inside Keith Thrower’s chest.

“Excited, just waiting to find out who they were. That’s what helped us through all of this,” said Patterson.

The middle of three boys, the Patterson’s say he was always good for a laugh. But he couldn’t shake the illness of addiction. And in 2021, after staying clean for a few years he died of a heroin overdose.

“Because a lot of drug addicts, don’t feel self-worth or worthy. And this was our way of before he died, to me saving three lives was the worth.”

His story is now a part of Thrower.

“I always say I just want to thank them. And it was just my goal to get here today so they could hear it for themselves. And realize that Nick lives on in me,” Thrower said.

A 30-plus-year police veteran in Wisconsin, it’s an interesting intersect of lives. But after multiple heart attacks and growing health concerns, Thrower would face new life, while the Patterson’s faced tragedy.

“It was a journey, but I would definitely do it again. I get to see my daughter graduate high school. My son will be finishing college soon,” he said. “Once they are gone, we are just going to travel and live and enjoy life.”

Thrower, has always been an organ donor, but knows while Black people are most in need of donations and are least likely to become donors. He hopes his experience can somehow shift the odds.

“Black community. We got a start signing up.”

The Pattersons say they’re happy to see their son’s legacy continue to beat.

“To give a life is the most top thing you could ever do.”