MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Nearly four years after her son died, Barbara Edmonds heard his heartbeat again Tuesday — in someone else's body.
Her son, Reginald Mercer IV, an artist and aspiring chef who was killed in a hit-and-run almost four years ago, donated his organs.
Batesville, Mississippi resident Coasie Parker received a second chance to live in April 2014 when, just a month after being added to the transplant waiting list, she received Mercer's heart.
"I could feel the weight being lifted off me," said Parker on Tuesday, as she met Edmonds for the first time at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis.
Though the two had never met, it was more like a reunion, with warm embraces.
Parker was just one of five others who were saved due to Edmond's decision to donate her son's organs.
She said she has made the most of her life since her transplant, earning a bachelor’s degree and working toward a master’s degree in human resource management.
"Family has become a major thing with me,” Parker said. "I try to make sure with this chance that I have been given that I’m available. That I’m always present, and basically I don’t take it for granted the small things I don’t take it for granted.”
Edmonds said her son "gave the greatest give you could give, someone life. I can’t top that."
Baptist has done 380 heart transplants since 1985.