Vicky Brannon’s 14-year-old son, Matthew John McIntyre II, was killed in what police called an accidental shooting in July 1996 across the street from the family’s home in Fulton. She agreed to donate his heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys. More than a year later, she sought to connect with the organ recipients.
The Tampa Bay Times explained how Brannon followed organ donor network protocols, writing to each recipient and awaiting their responses. She received an immediate response from the person who received Matthew’s pancreas and one of his kidneys. Soon after, she relocated to Florida.
The newspaper explained that Brannon never received letters from the 14-year-old girl who received Matthew’s heart. Jennifer Lentini sent letters via the network for 10 years, until her home was gutted by fire. Recently she went through boxes salvaged from the fire and came upon Brannon’s original letter. Lentini, 32, renewed her search. She turned to Facebook. There, she connected with Matthew’s brother, Chad. Earlier this year, she traveled to Florida to meet Matthew’s mother.
It was Valentine’s Day — which is also National Organ Donor Day — when Brannon was able to press a stethoscope to Lentini’s chest and hear her son’s heart beating.