Newport News 'donor mom' meets 4th recipient of son’s organs

DAILY PRESS | Hugh Lessig
Susan Hanson lost her son nearly two years ago. She's been celebrating his life with others ever since.

Hanson is close friends with Jerry Hayes of Louisburg, N.C., who received her son's heart. She's also met Sharon from Tennessee and Paul from near Lynchburg. Sharon received a kidney from Hanson's son. For Paul, it was a life-saving liver transplant.

On Sunday, Hanson met a fourth member of her extended family for the first time in person. Doug Conrad, a Kentucky man, received a double-lung transplant thanks to her son. Instead of tissues to dry the tears, Hanson brought paper towels. It was that kind of event.

"I can hear you breathing," she said as the two hugged.

But that wasn't enough. Hanson wanted to hear her son's lungs through a stethoscope, and that's a story itself. She can only hear with the help of two Cochlear implants and used a stethoscope for people who have hearing devices. Cardionics, the manufacturer, donated the device to LifeNet Health, the organ procurement organization and tissue bank that arranged Sunday's meeting.

Using the stethoscope, Hanson smiled as Conrad took several deep breaths.

"Awesome," she said.

Doug — along with Jerry, Sharon and Paul — have been healed in ways that are clearly measurable. Hanson says her own restorative journey is just as real, and it began in her darkest hour. Continue reading
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