Retired nurse met mother of Indiana woman who donated heart to him


CHICAGO — Tom Johnson, of Kankakee, met the family of the Indiana woman who saved his life.

Johnson, a retired nurse and respiratory therapist suffered from cardiomyopathy five years ago and doctors told him he needed a transplant.

His new heart came from Andreona Williams, a South Bend, Indiana, woman who died of an asthma attack at age 20.

Johnson received Williams’ heart at Chicago’s Loyola University Medical Center after 18 months on the transplant waiting list.

A year after his transplant, Johnson wrote to his donor’s mother asking to meet. Last week, three years later, Amber Morgan responded and the Indiana Donor Network took it from there.

At age 68, Johnson now bikes 15 miles a day, runs around with his grandkids and works in the garden – anything to stay healthy.

After traveling nearly 100 miles, Morgan got to hear her daughter’s heartbeat in the lobby of a downtown hotel.

According to the Indiana Donor Network, there are fewer than 30 meetings coordinated by the network each year. They said this meeting was a “rare event” since so few happen.

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