82ºF

Woman reunites with twin's organ donor recipient during Tree of Life ceremony

Event at UF Health honors organ donors, their recipients

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Families who lost loved ones were reunited with their organ donor recipients as part of the annual Tree of Life ceremony held Tuesday at UF Health Jacksonville. 

News4Jax spoke to one family that found closure after meeting a heart transplant recipient.

Jessica Moore's twin sister, Hailey Moore, died in a crash nearly 10 years ago, but her heart keeps pumping new life.

The event also honored organ donors and their recipients, including Anne Campbell.

In 2007, Campbell, who had a rare heart disease, joined the donor waiting list in Virginia. Down in Florida, the Moore family was learning of the tragic loss of Hailey, who was just 17 years old. 

At first, the Hailey's family members weren't sure if they wanted to donate her organs. 

"Me and my mom (said), immediately, 'No. We're not doing that to her. We're not giving her away,'" said 26-year-old Jessica. "That's the way we though thought about it. Then we realized that's selfish."

After a change of heart, Hailey's organs saved six people, including Campbell. 

"Hailey has done more up in heaven than we will ever do here on Earth, and I'm just thankful for that," said Vickie Moore, Hailey and Jessica's mother. 

Now, Campbell, a mother of three, is back to doing what she loves: running. She received a medal at the World Transplant Games, where she broke a world record. 

"Every step of the way, I'm hearing another person's heart. I'm carrying this gift, and I'm blessed enough to even run a race," Campbell said. "I feel so blessed that I have a chance to meet them (Hailey's family) and say thank you to their face."

Campbell said Hailey is her motivation.

"They're both competitive. They're both feisty, and that heart is stronger than ever," Jessica said.

Members of the Moore family said meeting Hailey's organ donor recipients has given them closure and helped the healing process.

Currently, more than 121,000 people are waiting for organ donations throughout the country. 

Health care providers at UF Health want people to consider registering to be an organ donor if they aren't already. For more information, visit DonateLifeFlorida.org.