CLEVELAND, Ohio– A Cleveland mom meets the child who received her daughter’s heart. It happened just in time for Valentine’s Day, which is also National Organ Donation Day.
“I always say two beautiful girls, one beating heart,” said Amber Travaglio.
Seven-year-old Melody was a healthy, loving little girl who enjoyed playing with her little brother, Vinnie, fostering animals and knitting hats for NICU babies.
“She was obsessed with knitting,” said Amber. “She was special.”
July 7, 2015, Melody suffered an unexplained and sudden asphyxic asthma attack. Melody, who is a nurse married to a police officer, quickly called 911 and began CPR.
A team of doctors and nurses at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital tried hard, but were unable to save her.
“I just remember flailing onto her hospital bed with her and holding her, just screaming her name,” said Amber, with tears streaming down her cheeks.
Amber decided to donate Melody’s organs to continue her legacy of giving.
She passed away on July 9, which was the same day another little girl was celebrating her 4th birthday hospitalized in Atlanta.
Peyton Richardson was a completely normal, healthy child, too, until a cold virus attacked her heart.
“I never knew a common cold could do that,” said her mother, Ashlyn Richardson.
Machines had been keeping Peyton’s heart pumping for months when the family learned about Melody’s heart. It was a perfect, lifesaving match.
“I just cried,” said Ashlyn, “And I kept thinking of that person that lost their child.”
Twenty months later, Amber traveled to Atlanta to meet Peyton and her family.
Both mothers were so excited; you could literally hear their hearts loudly pounding in unison as they finally embraced.
Next, Amber was able to meet and hug Peyton.
A surreal experience, she says, “I mean I grew that heart inside of me.”
This Valentine’s Day they hope people will see their journey and consider organ donation.
Lifebanc CEO Gordon Bowen says, “One organ donor can save up to 8 lives and one tissue donor can enhance the lives of more than 50 people.”
Amber is still learning about the people Melody saved, and says just knowing they’re out there gives her tremendous peace.
**The audio captured of the mother’s hugging and hearts beating loudly was not a sound effect. That part of the video was unedited to show the powerful meeting**