Two families, linked by one special gift met for the first time Sunday in Oak Cliff.
Susie Gerik and Brenda Stuart live more than 4 hours apart. Gerik is a pediatrician from Santa Fe and Stuart lives in Oak Cliff where she attends church every Sunday.
On the surface, they may not seem to have much in common, but they consider each other family.
In October of 2016, Stuart’s 15-year-old grandson, who she raised from birth, was shot and killed at an apartment complex. The family decided to donate his organs.
Gerik had liver failure in 2016 due to side effects from supplements she’d been taking after an accident. She’d only been on the transplant list for a liver for a week when Roy’s became available. She credits the teen with saving her life.
“I savor every moment of that. When I teach a student, Roy is teaching a student, when I hold a baby in the nursery, Roy is holding that baby, and when I play with my grandbabies, he's right there with me.” Said Gerik.
Both families could have stayed anonymous, but agreed to meet through an organ donor network.
“Right now, I'm happy just to know he's still living on in somebody else, and we get to talk to them at some point. Every day is a battle, but today is a good day, today is a blessing.” Said Roy’s aunt Latisha Stuart.
The group went to a Sunday church service as one family, honoring the young life that was lost, and brought them together.
Stuart’s family was also able to donate his kidneys, heart and lungs, saving at least four more people.