I discovered an incredible link with the family of my baby boy's heart donor… now we're friends for life | The Sun

THE mother of a baby saved by a heart transplant was left stunned after discovering an incredible link she shared with his donor's family.

Beckham Scadlock was given only weeks to live when he was born with a severe congenital heart defect – but his life was saved by another baby 1,000 miles away.

When two-month-old Jake Campbell tragically passed away, his selfless parents Holly and Andy gave permission for him to become an organ donor.

Jake’s heart saved Beckham’s life – but it was only years later that the two mothers realised they shared something incredible between them.

The first song Beckham's mother Kim had sung to him as he came round from surgery was the same song Jake’s mother had sung to her baby as she kissed him goodbye.

Kim, from Des Moines, Iowa, said: "When Holly told me she sang For Good, from Wicked, to Jake as she said goodbye to him, it sent a shiver down my spine.

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"I was shaking when I told her that it was the same song I felt compelled to sing to Beckham when he came round from surgery.

"We were just both stunned. We say the heart just knew what it needed to hear.

"It’s a really special link between our families."

After meeting each other in a twist of fate, the two families now consider themselves friends for life.

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Beckham now refers to Holly and Andy as his "heart parents" and their other children his "heart siblings".

Beckham was born in August 2007 – but doctors soon discovered he had a serious heart murmur and his valves were leaking.

Kim said: “The doctor said his heart valves were the worst he’d ever seen.

“Beckham was hanging on, but we were told his only hope of survival was a transplant.

“I knew deep down what that meant, but I found myself asking, ‘where do we get a heart?’ and the doctor replied: 'another child'.

“How could we pray for a heart for our son when we knew we were wishing for someone else to lose their child?

“Then, after two weeks, we were told a heart had become available. I kissed Beckham goodbye and he went into surgery.

“It was an agonising wait, but when he came round, the surgeon said: ‘That heart just started right up, it wanted to beat.’

“He was actually pink for the first time in his life – he had been blue.

“I had been to see Wicked when I was pregnant and loved the music, but as I stroked his head, I began to sing ‘For Good’ to him.

“It wasn’t something I thought about until years later when Holly told me her story.”

And while Beckham recovered from his heart surgery, Holly and Andy, from New York, were forced to carry on life without their two-month old son Jake.

Jake was found not breathing in his crib after a nap, and despite desperate attempts by Andy to perform CPR, doctors told the family there was nothing they could do to save him.

Holly said: “When we were told that Jake wouldn’t recover, we asked about the possibility of organ donation, we wanted something good to come out of the worst day of our lives."

The doctors informed the grief-stricken parents that if their baby was to be a heart donor, all of his last support would be attached as they said their final goodbyes.

"I almost couldn’t bring myself to say yes," Holly explained.

“But then we were told there was a two-week old boy in Iowa who needed a heart and was  a perfect match.

“We knew his family were going through the same thing as us and we immediately agreed.

“The nurses and doctors tried their best to get me as close to Jake as I could, and I stroked him as I sang ‘For Good’."

We were just both stunned… we say the heart just knew what it needed to hear

She described the Wicked song as part of a "special" ritual between her and her baby.

"I used to pace for hours with him holding him and singing that song."

Holly continued: “Then me, Andy and his older brother Ben sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – like we did every night before putting Jake to bed – and he went off for his surgery.

“I am so proud of my son. He was so little but he saved someone else’s life.”

Donor families and recipients are not usually allowed to meet, and are only given minimal details about who has received or donated organs.

But in 2008, Holly couldn’t stop thinking about the little boy who Jake donated his heart to.

She googled the date and state the transplant was in and somehow stumbled across a news article about Beckham’s transplant.

They discovered the family were blogging about their journey – and soon found out Kim and her husband Nate wanted to be put in contact.

“It was so wonderful to know they cared about Beckham and our family,” Kim said, adding “we were so excited and nervous to write to them.”

The families exchanged letters before arranging that they would meet at the Transplant Games in 2010 – a sporting event designed for organ recipients and living donors to compete in.

Holly said: “I sing a little and had been asked to perform a song at the event because I was quite involved in the donor community.

“I was going to sing 'For Good' and I wanted to explain to her why it was so special to me.

“When she told me that was the song she had sung to Beckham I couldn’t believe it.

“We were just absolutely amazed. It made me feel as though a little part of Jake is with Beckham.”

The pair have continued to share their story through song to raise awareness of organ donation and encourage people to sign the organ donor register.

Holly added: “Seeing Beckham grow up has been bittersweet but it means the world to me that he is here and that means Jake is here and his life still matters.

“We never expected to get a bonus family from this but it has been such a gift.

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“I’m so grateful that we get to share our story together – we have had so many people reach out and say they’ve signed the register since hearing our story and it really does mean the world to us.

“It’s an amazing legacy for Jake to be able to leave.”

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