After 5-year-old Mikey Hernandez tragically died on June 11, 2005 in a car crash, his mother Melissa donated his organs – including his heart.
Ten years later, Mikey’s sister, Monique, got a chance to get close to it again as she warmly hugged the 18-year-old recipient of his young heart.
It was a gift Monique had requested for her 15th birthday, her quinceañera, even though she was barely a year old when Mikey passed away.
Aubrey Reeves, the lucky recipient of Wichita Falls, Texas, was born with a congenital heart defect and to date she’s already had three heart transplants — her body rejected the first two.
“Monique just embraced Aubrey and I think she whispered ‘Don’t let go,'” Aubrey’s mom told ABC’s WTOP. “[Mom] Melissa put her arms around both of them and I put my arms around Melissa,” she added.
“It was surreal and such a beautiful moment,” Aubrey’s mother, Cheryl, said.
Mikey’s heart is Aubrey’s third transplanted heart and so far she hasn’t experienced any adverse reactions. “It’s just been wonderful,” Cheryl told WTOP.
The memorable get-together came to being earlier this month, when almost a decade after the transplant Aubrey's dad decided to find out where the life-saving heart had come from.
He found out it had belonged to little Mikey and reached out to the family through the donor registry.
When contacted by the Reeves, the Hernandezes decided to invite them to her daughter’s quinceañera party so the girls could meet and Monique could hear her brother’s heartbeat.
"He was a loving child," Melissa said of her late son. "Anywhere he went he would talk to you and make you laugh and smile,” she told Essential Kids. “He loved going to the ranch, barbequing ... he loved life. At five years old, he captured the hearts of many."
She then spoke about “a thing” she had with little Mikey, in which she would put his hand on her heart and her hand on his and say to him, “Do you feel that boom boom? Every time you get scared and you miss dad or you miss mum, put your hand on your heart and rub it because mummy rubs her heart all day thinking of you."
Now that his heart is beating in Aubrey, it’s hard for the Reeves to not see the Hernandezes as a family of sorts. “[Aubrey] is really embracing the idea that she’s a part of their family because she has this little boy’s heart,” Cheryl said.