It was a beautiful moment of fate when a heart recipient and the donor’s family ran into each other by chance at a Missouri baseball game.
On April 28, Savannah Roesch of Illinois was at the game, sponsored by Donate Life, with family members when she happened to run into the man, John Sueme, who received her younger brother’s heart.
Roesch and her family were wearing T-shirts with pictures of her brother Donovan, who had been killed in a car accident in 2016 at the age of 21, when Sueme's daughter spotted them.
"She was telling her parents, and her mom without hesitation came over and said, 'Are you Donovan’s family?'” Roesch said.
Roesch confirmed they were.
“Next thing you know she said, 'My husband has his heart. He’s right over here,'” Roesch recalled. “And it was just almost like disbelief, like, ‘Is this seriously happening right now?’ It was amazing.”
Sueme’s daughter had recognized Donovan on the shirt from a previous letter Roesch had sent to Sueme.
Although the donation site they were in contact with was very strict about revealing identifiable details about donors and recipients, Roesch had sent Sueme a letter after he’d sent her one, saying he was thankful and would love to meet them one day.
“So in my letter [back] I wrote, ‘John, you now have a heart of gold and I want you to put a face to your new heart,’ so that’s why I enclosed those pictures of my brother and told them all about him.”
Roesch didn’t know she’d come into contact with her brother’s "heart of gold" again so unexpectedly.
On Facebook, Roesch shared a video of the unbelievable moment they all had the chance to listen to Donovan’s heart for the first time. There were tears all around.
“It was like hugging my brother again really,” Roesch said. “You close your eyes and you just kind of picture it. I can’t even put it into words how remarkable it is.”
She believes her brother orchestrated the moment. Now, they’ve become one big family.
“I’ve talked to the family a few times a day, every day since it happened,” Roesch said. “It was definitely fate.”