Becky Turney from Alaska lost her son Tristan when he was 19 years old. He was an organ donor. Little did she know, however, that the man who received his heart would show up on her wedding day.
The tearful moment was captured on video. Turney met the recipient of her son’s heart last week when her fiancé Kelly Turney flew Jacob Kilby to Alaska from California for their big day.
Right when the couple was about to say their I dos, Kelly stopped the ceremony to make an announcement. Becky Turney and Kilby had spoken over the phone before but they had never met in person.
“As you know we have a seat saved for our son Tristan who couldn’t make it and he is here with us in spirit but what a lot of you may not know, Tristan was an organ donor. That was his choice,” Kelly Turney said to the crowd.
“And by doing so it opened us up to meet some pretty amazing people. And one of those young men, who received his heart is here today, and he is going to come up and be our sixth groomsman.”
At that moment, Becky Turney was overcome with emotion.
The photographer who documented the surprise posted the photos on Facebook and it has gone viral with almost 100,000 shares.
Becky got to listen to her son’s heart beating inside of Kilby’s chest using a stethoscope.
“That whole day, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t stop crying,” Becky said of the hours leading up to the ceremony. “Now I know why. My son’s presence was there,” she told local news station WSB-TV.
Kelly told the news station that besides surprising his wife on her wedding day, he also hopes the act would encourage others to become organ donors or perhaps motivate people to connect with donor recipients.
“It’s the most selfless act you can do for another person,” Kelly said. “And we would encourage other families of donors and recipients to reach out, because there’s a lot of healing that goes on.”