A grief stricken mother got to hear her son's heart beat again. It's something she's prayed for since he died eight months ago. Her son, 16-year-old Caleb Beaver of Saucier, Mississippi, died on Christmas Day 2011. But the gift he gave to a very sick man brought two families, thousands of miles apart, together last week. Caleb Beaver was a big brother and beloved son, a great musician and Harrison Central soccer player who wanted to be a doctor one day.
But the 16-year-old died suddenly on Christmas day after two strokes from a malformation in his circulatory system that he was probably born with. One night, his devastated mother prayed for a sign to feel close to him again. His mother, April Beaver, said, "I was talking to God and crying out and I asked God to let me have a dream or something. I wanted to feel close to Caleb's heart. I wanted to hear his heart beat." The next day her prayers were answered, with a letter from the Kentucky man who wanted to come to Gulfport to say 'thank you' in person.
He had received Caleb's heart through the selfless act of organ donation. As Chuck Shelton, his wife, Amy, and two teenage sons approached them at Gulfport Biloxi International Airport, April Beaver said, "Is it real? Yes, it's real." The first thing they did was embrace and then both pulled out their stethoscopes. There was not a dry eye around as she said "That's Caleb" as she listened and sobbed Shelton said "yes that's Caleb, it's very strong." Shelton invited Caleb's whole family to feel and hear his heart beat. The Lexington psychiatrist wanted to thank them and in some small way, help them all heal. Just eight months ago, he was a very, very sick man.
The grateful heart recipient said, "It's a miracle, it's amazing and I'm back, I'm even better than I had been three or four years ago." Like Caleb, this athlete also played bass guitar in a band as a kid, and is a doctor like Caleb hoped to be one day. Now that they've met Chuck Shelton April and Owen Beaver know more than ever, that organ donation was the right thing to do. April said, "That's what Caleb would have wanted." The man whose life he saved said "It's a gift and it's just indescribable."