A bride went above and beyond to give her husband a heartfelt gift on their wedding day.
Derick Smith’s late brother, Jake, was hit by a car when he was just 13. Smith was 12 at the time. The family decided to donate Jake’s organs, but they never had the chance to meet anyone who'd received the life-saving donations.
Smith’s then-fiancee, Katy, wanted to give him a special surprise on their big day: She wanted him to hear his brother’s heart beating again.
"I had asked Derick's mom, I said, you know this is going to be a really personal question, and you can tell me no, but I'm really interested in trying to find the person that received Jake's heart and would you be willing to do that?” Katy Said. “She cried and she was really happy and she said, 'Absolutely, I think this will be a great idea.’"
The search took Katy more than a year, but she finally found the woman whose life was changed by Jake's gift: Gracie Wilkinson.
Wilkinson was just 6 years old when she received the transplant.
"I found out her name and I found her on Facebook, and so I sent her a message... within two minutes she responded saying, ‘Absolutely, I would love to be there, just tell me when and where and I will be there,’" Katy said.
“I'm glad you came. Thank you for having me. I'm glad my brother was able to help you,” Wilkinson said during the moment.
The pair hugged and cried, and Smith listened to Jake’s heart. Wilkinson also made Smith a keychain with an image of his brother’s heartbeat from an EKG.
"What it was like to hear his heartbeat was a flood of different emotions,” Smith said of the moment. "There's not a word to describe it. She gave me the gift of closure."
For Wilkinson, it meant just as much.
"I was shocked that she was selfless enough to kind of share her wedding day with me because even though it was for Derick it was huge for me as well,” she said.
“Getting to meet everyone and getting to be part of their day and a part of that moment for Derick and kind of bringing Derick some closure from losing his brother means the absolute world to me," she added.