At just 14 years old, Isabel Santoro, who dreamed of a future in medicine, tragically died by suicide. Her mom, Lauren, made the choice to donate her late daughter's organs, which have gone on to save the lives of nine people in need of various transplants. One of those donees, Vicky, was given a week to live two years ago, when Isabel's heart came in as a perfect match.
"We have a family friend, a young girl, years ago who basically died in vain waiting for a heart at Stanford University. This is [Isabel's] contribution to medicine," Lauren told KOIN 6 News. "Knowing the good that has come from our tragedy has restored hope for myself and my family and has been a comfort to us."
Now two years after her daughter's death, Lauren was able to hear Isabel's heart beating again inside 60-year-old Vicky's chest. The pair met up at Donate Life NW in Portland, OR, where Lauren broke down upon hearing her girl's heart beating with a stethoscope.
"I wish there was a way we could amplify it for everybody to hear," Lauren says in the video of the duo sitting together. "That is so special. Thank you so much for letting me hear that."
Vicky, who is so grateful for what the Santoro family has done for her, plans on living a life that will make Isabel "as happy and proud of me as possible." She added: "I am so grateful to have that little girl's heart . . . [when I get to heaven I'll give Isabel] the biggest hug she's ever had and tell her how much I love her and what she did for me and my family."