It’s a parent’s worst nightmare to lose a child. No mother or father should ever have to bury their own child. But sadly, life isn’t always fair and some events don’t go in the order that we expect them to go. Just ask Anna Hutt, who knows what losing a child is like. A tragic accident on a dirt bike took her 16-year-old son away, and it left her devastated. When tragedy strikes, parents are often left thinking about the last thing they said to their child and what their child said to them before they passed away. But for Hutt, death couldn’t separate her from her son when she received a letter from him a year after his death.Hutt, who lives in Clarinda, Iowa, claims that Payton was a prankster, but that he was very intelligent, loved computers, and had a thing for welding as well as working on vehicles, and that included his dirt bike.
When he filled out the application for his permit, he checked the box that said he would want his organs donated in the event of his death. Naturally, his mom didn’t agree with that decision and they had a discussion over it.
As she was struggling to come to terms with the loss of her son after the accident, this man, called Gary, was dealing with the fact that he would probably by dying too. In 2007, he was told he had nonischemic cardiomyopathy.
Six days after going on the waiting list for a heart transplant, Gary’s nurse walked into his room to tell him that they found him a heart. But he didn’t know that it belonged to Payton Montana Casteel of Coin, Iowa, or that his donor was only 16.
The teen didn’t have his helmet on, which only made his condition worse. Although he was rushed to the hospital, he passed away. His mom had argued with him weeks before that one should leave with the organs they came with, but Payton had told her that it was his body and his choice.
He had made peace with the possibility of his death after his transplant surgeon, Dr. John Um, gave him the grim prognosis. But then a miracle came from a tragedy, and when Payton’s heart went to him, Gary was given a second chance to live.
A year after he got his new heart, Gary reached out to Anna via a letter to thank her for her son being so generous. The two continued to chat through phone calls and letters, and then, one Mother’s Day, Anna was given the chance to hear her son’s heartbeat.
He celebrates the day he was born on February 23, and he celebrates May 23, the day that he received Payton’s heart. It turns out that Payton’s decision to donate his organs didn’t just help Gary. It helped six other people as well, which helped Anna Hutt tremendously through the grieving process.