Transplant recipient, donor's family hold close bond 12 years after tragedy

NEWS-SENTINEL | Justin Kenny

Bill Coldwell received a man's heart, and gained even more

Bill Coldwell and Kaye Simmons talk about Kaye's brother Billy, seen in the picture frame, recently. Billy was an organ donor and Coldwell received his heart after Billy was killed in April of 2005. (By Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel)

Kaye Simmons remembers the first time she met the man who's life was saved by her brother.

It was Mother's Day, 2007. Two years prior, Kaye's twin brother Billy Vernon was killed when he was struck by a car while helping a stranded motorist in CassCounty.

Billy's organs were donated to those in dire need of new organs to stay alive.

One of those people was Bill Coldwell, a Fort Wayne resident being kept alive by machines after suffering a massive heart attack at age 61. His wait on the transplant list for a new heart was nearly 11 weeks before a match was found.

Coldwell's match happened to be Vernon.

A month after Vernon's passing, his mom Diane Vernon wrote to every person who received an organ donation from her son, passing along just what kind of person that Billy was. She enclosed a wallet-size picture of Billy in each letter. Continue reading
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