Love stories are the greatest -- especially when they have endearing details of fate and connection. Such is Conner and Erin’s story, because Erin’s brother’s heart beats in Conner’s chest.
In 2005, Seattle-native Erin Roberts' big brother Kellen was killed at the way-too-young-to-die age of 22, and his family decided to donate his organs so other lives could be saved. Mom Nancy recently wrote, “We were so grateful that Kell’s organs were able to be donated, and thrilled, as we know Kellen would have been, that he was able to save six lives. It gave us such joy and hope in the middle of our enormous loss.”
Meanwhile in Minnesota, a 17-year-old boy named Connor Rabinowitz had recently found out that he had a rare genetic disease that was enlarging and weakening his heart. One of the best high school pitchers in the country at the time, he put away his dreams of playing professional ball someday and began the wait for a heart.
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It took 96 days for Connor to be matched with Kellen’s heart.
“I would lie in bed at night and pray for a heart to come quickly or I wouldn’t make it. I would think every day and night about the person who would have to die for me to live. I prayed for that family who would be receiving such a different call from that of mine,” Connor said. “This means a man just died, yet he thought that in his death he could save multiple lives by donating his organs ... I was so thankful for this person I couldn’t stop crying.”
The surgery was successful, and he was eager to meet and say thank you to the family that had saved his life. Both families reached out to LifeCenter Northwest (donors and recipients are kept anonymous unless both agree to meet), and began communicating almost immediately. In 2006, Connor and his mom traveled to Seattle to visit the Roberts.
When Connor first met Erin, he said, “It was a connection at first sight ... we hit it off right away and became friends.” The two saw each other annually until 2011, when they decided to date. They maintained a long distance relationship while Erin was in college in Seattle, and Connor in Minneapolis, but after graduation, he moved to the Pacific Northwest to be with his sweetheart.
They just celebrated their first Valentine’s Day together, and they told the West Seattle Herald that wedding bells might be in the not-too-distant future.
In case you were wondering ... Connor let go of his big baseball dreams willingly. He said that as he got sicker and sicker waiting for a heart, he realized that baseball is a game, and “life is so much more than that.” He is now trained as a cardiac ultrasound technician. Somehow, that makes this love story even sweeter.
Do you think that the heart transplant has anything to do with this couple’s affection for each other, or is it just a cute “how we met” story?
Image via epSos.de/Flickr