Northwest Arkansas Woman Meets Man Who Received Her Son’s Heart

PRAIRIE GROVE (KFSM) -- Parker Fenton was just 18 when he died during October 2015.   He was a registered organ donor and six of his organs were used to save four people`s lives. Saturday (January 13), his mother had a chance to meet with one of those people  face-to-face for the first time.

Parker`s mom Andrea Patterson said her son had a big and giving heart.

“I feel like he was able to share his physical heart with someone who is also very compassionate, caring person, and I don`t think God could`ve picked a better match than the two of them,” she said.

Saturday Patterson met Kevin Eilrich who received Parker`s heart.

“I will never be able to live up to taking another man`s heart. I`m going to try my best but I`m only human,” Eilrich said.

Eilrich had cardiomyopathy and been on heart medication for more than 20 years but he was getting worse and needed a new heart.

“We hate to have someone in order to receive a heart, someone has to tragically lose their life,” he said.

Patterson and Eilrich emailed back and forth but today he and his wife decided to drive from Kansas to finally meet in person and offer their condolences.

“It means a lot because just knowing Parker and knowing his personality he wasn`t selfish so if he could help someone else...I know he`s smiling about that,” Patterson said.

Both Patterson and Eilrich hope their story brings awareness to the importance of organ donation.   They encourage everyone to become an organ donor if they aren't already.

Eilrich said he is doing better than he ever has been because he finally has a healthy heart.