CLEVELAND, OH (CBS) – They may be called the Transplant Games, but it’s so much more than competition.
That was evident over the weekend when a heart recipient with Team Philly met the family of the man who donated his heart.
Todd Stickel will celebrate three years with his new heart over the July Fourth weekend.
“As thankful as possible can be for giving me my second chance on life, allowing me to spend more time with my family,” he says.
Todd’s heart comes from Phillip Malone, Jr. — a 38-year-old who drowned while swimming at an Ohio lake. His parents, Phil Sr. and Janice Malone, say it was an incredibly special moment to listen to their son’s heart beating in Todd’s chest.
As for getting to know Todd, his wife and two daughters…
“It makes it a little easier I believe,” Phillips says.
“He’s in good health, takes care of himself, and we helped his wife and kids not lose their dad,” adds Janice. “It’s amazing is what it is. It’s totally amazing.”
Todd patted his chest as he says there are no words to convey his gratitude:
“I can assure you that I will take good care of Phillip in here.”
Phillip also donated lungs, both kidneys, pancreas, liver, skin, tissue and corneas.