In life, few things can be quite as painful as the loss of a loved one – nothing can be quite as painful as the loss of a child. For a mother to watch their baby die, it’s a unique kind of pain: something that can never be replaced.
So, when Joanie Zavala received the call that her boy, Teddy Perry, had died, her heart was smashed into a thousand pieces. Teddy, 19, had committed suicide after years of sick bullying from others.
Knowing that “everything was going to change” due to the news, Zavala did one thing: she put Teddy up as an organ donor. Already, Teddy’ organs have been used to help four people to lead happy, healthy lives – and Joanie has been meeting them. She met 66-year-old Ed Melde, who is the father of seven. Melde was the recipient of Teddy’ heart and Joanie felt that she had to hear it beating once more.
Meeting at the Ada Hayden Heritage Park, Ames, they looked at various photos of Teddy together. Melde suffered from heart failure and had done for over a decade, and was getting to the stage where he needed help – soon. “If I wouldn’t have gone through with (the transplant), then I probably wouldn’t be alive now,” Melde said.
Listening to the heartbeat within Melde, the family got to enjoy knowing that Teddy was able to help continue to produce happiness in the world. Indeed, Melde is now feeling healthy enough that, after a decade out of work, he’s able to go back to work and start taking part in his old job again – amazing, right?
A Growing Problem
However, while the story of young Teddy is a tragic one, the ending is definitely a more positive, upbeat story. That being said, there is a growing demand for organ transplants to be made available in the state of Iowa.
With over 700 Iowans still waiting for an organ transplant of their own, you should look to act and help others if you can. You can join up as part of the Iowa Donor Network, and make sure that others can benefit from the strongest parts of your body later on in life.
Rest in Peace, Teddy. We’re sorry for your loss, but this amazing story shows that your radiance in life can live on even after the fact.
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