HINSDAL, Illinois (CBS) – We first told you about the story of the amazing Ava Martin six years ago.
The transplant united the families of two children. On Tuesday, Marisa Pearlman of CBS 2 conducted a review with both families to see how they return after the loss and how their once-in-a-lifetime friendship developed.
Now Ave 7 and she herself is thriving. Pearlman visited when she posed for photos.
“There are small glimpses like, boy, you know, a kind of inclination or character – just big ones,” said her mother, Amy Martin. “She’s just wild.”
Amy Martin said her daughter’s energy comes from a special place and personality. This man is Willie Hurd, whose heart lives in her.
“I’m glad I found out who gave Ava this gift,” Martin said.
Brad Edwards of CBS 2 reported this story back in 2015. At just 13 months old, Ava was waiting and waiting for a new heart.
“Ava’s struggle to be here keeps you like a mother,” Martin said.
This heart arrived just in time for Christmas 2015. At the operating room on December 14, 2015, doctors told her new heart, “Welcome to your new home.”
Across the country in Nashville, William’s mother, Jamie Hurd, learned about Ava from CBS 2 messages sent to her by a friend.
William and his nanny were eating chicken noodle soup when he choked on a piece of food, she says. Only at the hospital were doctors able to permanently remove it, but until then the child had no pulse. The last medication revived his heart, but the child showed no signs of brain activity.
Jamie Hurd and her husband Daniel decided to donate their hearts so they could help another child. He died on December 13, 2015, the day before Ava had a transplant.
“I thought, even if it wasn’t William’s heart, I just wanted to pray for the mom who got the greatest gift,” Hurd said.
But it was William’s heart. And soon after that the families got in touch. Jamie Hurd was able to meet Ava – and hear her son’s heartbeat inside her.
“It was truly a healing time of light and hope as we walked through the dark times,” Hurd said.
Now Amy Martin and Jamie Hurd are teaming up to achieve a common goal – to collect aid packages for families in the cardiology ward of Lurie Children’s Hospital. This place is well known to Martina.
“When we were there, there were so many people who did it for us,” Amy Martins said.
Organ donation was a cure for both families.
“His heart couldn’t go to a better family,” Hurd said.
“They gave us more time with her,” Martin added.
But apart from this gift, William’s heart brought the family closer. Hurd and Martin travel and celebrate the holidays. The four girls call each other “sisters of the heart” and Jamie Hurd “the mother of the heart.”
“It’s not normal and it’s not typical for two families to want to get together as much as we have,” Martin said.
Hurd said the best part was watching Ava sit.
“She’s so loving and sweet,” Hurd said. “I feel close to William when I’m around.”
Hurd is a co-founder True restored women, a group that helps women who are going through hard times. They will hand out aid packages in time for Mother’s Day, and they will do the same at Nashville Hospital – the same one that treated William six years ago.