Muskogee Heart Transplant Recipient Meets Donor's Mother
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - A Muskogee man has a new chance at life after receiving a heart from a total stranger.
Kenneth Cooper's days were numbered because of congestive heart failure. Now, he's forever grateful to the donor's family.
Cooper said meeting his donor's mother was life-changing and said his new heart has now brought two families together. Kyle's death meant life for Kenneth Cooper and now, these two families are bound together by the most precious of gifts.
"Just to hear her son’s heartbeat again, that had to be awesome for her. But like we said in the service, she's gained a whole family. We are there for her you know what I mean,” said Cooper.
Cooper has spent his entire life giving to others, so it wasn't easy to learn he needed to receive a new heart. His time was running out until he got a phone call that changed everything.
"I remember I was at home sitting on the couch and for some reason, I didn't have my phone. They called my wife and she said Integris is on the phone. And so, I got on the phone and they said we have a heart," said Cooper.
He had surgery the next day. All he knew about the donor was he was 38 and named Kyle.
"I respect him. I thank him for giving me life when his life was ending ... I mean I don't know,” said Cooper.
When Kenneth's wife started planning a surprise birthday party to celebrate his second chance, they had no idea that wouldn't be the biggest surprise of the day. That was the day he also met Kyle's mother.
This experience makes him look at life a little differently now.
"I found out there is a blessing in receiving and there is a blessing in giving. And I'd like to be a part of both of them,” said Cooper.
The theme for Kenneth's surprise party was "Back in the Game" and he said that's exactly how he feels. He hopes his story encourages others to become organ donors.