Her son was murdered, now she meets the man who received his heart

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MEMPHIS, Tenn.  -- A mother heard her son's heart beat Friday, even though he was murdered two years ago.

Viola Turner met the man who received her son's heart for the first time at the Mid-South Transplant Foundation in Cordova.

WREG was there for the emotional moment, and there was not a dry eye in the house.

Turner sobbed as the recipient of her son Albert's heart came around the corner.

The two embraced, and Turner placed a hand to James Wibbenmeyer's chest to feel her son's heart beat.

The two families were brought together through tragedy, but now living on in joy.

Turner's son, 20-year-old Albert Spencer, was shot and killed in Memphis more than two years ago.

She made a decision to donate his heart.

That decision gave James Wibbenmeyer of Perryville, Missouri a second chance.

"I had heart failure for 20 years. It's the gift of life. I probably wouldn't be here if not for albert's donation," Wibbenmeyer said through tears.

Turner said, although the loss of her son has been incredibly difficult, his legacy was living on through Wibbenmeyer, a husband, father and grandfather.

"So many people are losing their lives, and to celebrate life and love is truly a blessing," Turner said. "So, it's like a miracle for me today."

Through the hardest of circumstances, these two families became one.

"You guys have some extra family members now! We've got to make plans for the next holiday," Turner said to the Wibbenmeyer family, laughing. "You've got to pull out some more seats for me! "

They said they were forever united through one ultimate gift: one very strong, beating heart.

"Albert, I want you to know that you are my hero, and I sincerely mean that, because he truly taught me what love really is," Turner said.

The families plan to spend the whole weekend getting to know each other better, sight-seeing in Memphis and of course, enjoying some good barbecue.


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