Published February 18, 2013
Her brother’s heart ultimately guided her to the man that would fulfill her own heart.
After helping to find the right match for her deceased brother’s donated heart, one woman fell in love with her brother’s transplant recipient – and wedding bells may soon be in the air for the happy couple, West Seattle Herald reported.
When 22-year-old Kellen Roberts, from Seattle, Wash., died in 2005, his family decided to donate his organs to help others in need. His mother Nancy and his younger sister Erin began working with LifeCenter Northwest in Bellevue, Wash., to find the right match for Kellen’s heart.
Meanwhile, across the country in Minneapolis, Minn., 17-year-old Connor Rabinowitz had been diagnosed with a genetic disorder that caused his organs to become enlarged and weakened.
Without a heart transplant, Connor would not survive, the doctors said.
A top-rated baseball catcher, Connor’s athletic career was officially over, and he began the 96-day waiting process for a brand-new heart. Finally, he was told there was a match: Kellen’s heart.
Connor underwent heart transplant surgery, which was a complete success. His first plan of action upon receiving his new heart was to write a letter to his donor’s family, hoping that they could meet. The Roberts family was more than delighted to receive him, so Connor and his mother traveled out to Seattle – where he first met Erin.
“It was a connection at first sight,” Connor told the West Seattle Herald, of meeting Erin for the first time. “We hit it off right away and became friends.”
Connor continued to visit the Roberts family over the next four years. Connor and Erin became closer and closer during that time, eventually becoming an official couple in 2011. After graduating in 2012, Connor moved to Seattle to be with Erin, spending their first Valentine’s Day together this year. They told the West Seattle Herald that wedding bells may not be too far off in their future.
While the circumstances leading to Connor and Erin’s relationship were tragic, the Roberts family is happy to have Connor in their lives.
“I miss my son, but I am clear in my belief that he is happy and understands and smiles at everything that has ensued since he left us,” Nancy told the West Seattle Herald. “The world unfolds in ways that I cannot fathom, but I trust and believe in the way things are, and that all things happen for a purpose.