DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Aaron Anderson was nervous and unsure of what to say Sunday. He was, in fact, meeting the family of a woman who saved his life after she lost her own.
One by one, though, her family members embraced him.
“I was hoping I said the right things, didn’t offend anyone,” Anderson said.
The single father struggled with kidney failure for years, after he contracted a disease.
On dialysis, he slowly wasted away, waiting for a kidney.
“I was frustrated at times, wondering if it was ever going to happen,” he said.
This past September, the phone finally rang: A 28-year-old woman, Lauren Huddleston, had been jogging on the Katy Trail, when she was struck by a bicyclist trying to pass her.
Huddleston died from her injuries, and her family honored her desire to be an organ donor.
“There was nothing to decide, she had made it known to us,” said Charles Townsend, Huddleston’s half brother.
Anderson got a kidney and a new energy for life.
“It’s a whole bunch of stuff that changed. Our family is so happy,” said his daughter, 11-year-old Madison.
Louis Velasquez, a grandfather who survived cancer, received a new liver.
“It’s a miracle that I could still be here on this earth,” he said.
Velasquez also noticed he picked up some of Huddleston’s old traits.
“I crave for a lot of sweets; now I don’t. I crave for salads, Lauren used to love salads. Things like that,” he said.
On Sunday, Lauren’s family met both men at the Southwest Transplant Alliance’s annual Celebration of Giving and Living.
“There’s a part of you that makes you feel like you’re hugging your sister, right? I mean, she’s there,” Townsend said to a group of reporters after meeting the two men.
“To know that there’s a part of Lauren that’s living on in someone else is a fantastic experience – and it gives greater meaning to her passing,” she said