The pain of losing a loved one is something no one wants to face, yet life forces us to gather strength and endurance when the dark hour comes. Anna Hutt lost her 16-year-old son, Payton, who was out riding his new dirt bike when he was hit by a wayward van. The injuries were critical as Payton was not wearing his helmet at the time. He passed away shortly after the accident.
Weeks earlier, Payton had just received his learner’s permit on which he had consented to being an organ donor even though his mother was not okay with the decision.
“I will never forget that conversation,” Anna said. “I told Payton, ‘What you come into this world with, you should leave with.’ But Payton didn’t believe that. He told me, ‘Mom, they’re my organs – not yours. Are you telling me that if something happens to me, you’d let my organs rot in the ground? No. I want to be a donor and help people.’”
What Anna did not know then was just how much of an impact her son’s decision would have on the lives of so many people. At the time of Payton’s death, another man by the name of Gary was on the verge of death.
Gary’s heart was working at only 4% and time was ticking. The doctors had given him a few months to live if they didn’t get a donor in time.
“I remember transplant surgeon Dr. John Um telling me, ‘Gary, you’re a very sick man. I’m not sure if we will get you a heart in time.’” Gary recalled. “After hearing that, I made peace with dying. There were no tears. I knew I wouldn’t live without a heart.”
However, just 6 days after Gary was put on the donor’s list, a nurse informed him that they had found a match, It was Peyton’s heart.
After the heart transplant, Gary was so thankful. One year after the procedure, Gary sent Anna a letter to thank her and show his appreciation. The two have stayed in contact since then.
This past mother’s day, the opportunity arose for them to meet for the first time. Anna had the chance to listen to her son’s heart beating in Gary’s chest.
“I have two birthdays now,” Gary said. “I always tell people that I’m 64 going on 18. My first birthday is February 27 – the day I was actually born. The other birthday is May 23 – the day I received Payton’s heart. That birthday means much more to me.”
In his untimely death, Payton saved six other lives as his organs were donated to different individuals. Anna is happy that 6 people now have a second chance at life because of her son’s selfless decision.