A mom was overcome with emotion when she met the transplant patient who received her son’s heart.
Lisa Swanson cried as she heard the ultrasound of patient Terry Hooper's heart at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha on Friday.
Her son Levi Shulz was killed in a car crash three years ago. Hooper, 64, was lucky enough to receive the new heart in an operation that saved his life.
Swanson and Hooper met for the first time recently at the medical center.
“When you hear it, you are also saddened…Knowing that my son isn’t here, I don’t get to hug him, I don’t get to talk to him anymore,” she told INSIDE EDITION.
Hooper told IE, “I don’t like the fact that she had to lose her son because he evidently was a wonderful kid.”
In 2012, 18-year-old Shulz was mowed down in North Dakota. He had gotten a flat tire and was walking for help.
In an instant, the high school wrestler's life was over. But his heart beats on in the chest of a man Levi didn't know when he was alive.
“You can’t cry though, okay? Cause then we won’t get through this,” Swanson told the man.
What made the meeting even more poignant is that Levi had a twin brother, Shelby. “I wanted to meet him and see what kind of person he was and I see how happy he was,” he said.
Hooper said he feels an obligation to live a healthy existence and do all he can to keep his new heart going for his own sake --- as well as Levi's family.
“I don’t stop thinking about him,” said Hooper. “I go for a long walk and I don’t want to walk another mile, I say, ‘Levi, let’s go for another mile.’”
Hooper added, “He’s my hero. There’s not a day I don’t think of him.”