Donated heart brings two families together



SEATTLE - Two families were brought together after a woman received a new heart from an organ donor.


Mary Mathews, 24, was given a new heart during the week of Thanksgiving.    Without it, she had days left to live due to a heart condition.


The same day Mathews received the heart, organ donor 25-year-old Brenda Gomez was taken off life support after suffering a severe brain injury in a car crash.


Police said 19-year-old Yichun Xu caused the crash when he drove through a stop sign and into Gomez’s vehicle.


Luz Gomez is still mourning the loss of her daughter, but she wanted to meet Mathews and her mother, Julia Barnes.


“Thank you so much,” said Julia  Barnes.


When the mothers met for the first time, they held each other tightly.


“Oh, not at all. I think mommas understand love,” said Barnes after Gomez apologized for the language barrier between the two.


“At least she knows her daughter is still alive, somehow,” said an interpreter.


“She is, and that heart is beating so beautifully,” Julia Barnes said.


Mathews, who has Brenda Gomez’ healthy heart, was unable to make it to the families' meeting at the University of Washington Medical Center.


Hours before the families met, Mathews developed complications and underwent surgery.


“It’s caused an ulcer in her stomach that caused some bleeding. They can fix it,” Barnes said.


Mathews and donor Brenda Gomez never met, but they shared the same dream, which is to teach elementary school students.


“I think that’s God’s little way of saying Brenda’s still going to be a teacher,” said a family member.


Luz Gomez and her family told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter David Ham that they still want to meet Mathews one day, but they want her to recover first.


“Definitely, we’re family now,” Barnes said.


Mathews was discharged Monday afternoon so she could spend time with her family on Christmas in Silverdale.