Audrey's Legacy: A Heart Beat Miles Away

By KBJR News 1

October 4, 2011 Updated Oct 4, 2011 at 6:59 AM CDT

Kinney, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - But for one Iron Range family a decision following the death of their daughter gave life to another child hundreds of miles away.

About two years ago, five year old Audrey Erickson of Kinney was hospitalized after her parents saw symptoms of something very wrong.

They would soon learn just how wrong.

"It took like 48 hours for the tests to come back so they started throwing all this antibiotics at her. They found it was gram-negative pseudomonas meningitis...which is the worst meningitis you can get," said Krista Erickson.

One of Audrey's brothers voiced his idea that donating his sister's organ's could help save someone elses life.

"It was just kind of information that came around. I was actually talking to a teacher who had lost her dad and he ended up donating his organs and saving some people's lives," said Chazz Brazier.

One of Audrey's organ's that was donated was her heart...which came in the nick of for a young Michigan boy.

"They got the call that said we think we found the heart; we found the perfect match," said Sean Erickson.

Then eight year old Tommy Schomaker had been battling congenital heart disease of the left side and wasn't given good chances of ever finding a new heart.

Tommy is now a healthy 10 year old and three weeks ago, on the weekend the Erickson's would have celebrated Audrey's eighth birthday, they met the boy in whose chest their daughter's heart beats.

"He just goes non stop. And he loves people," said Sean Erickson.

"Just like she did, he loves people; always trying to make people happy. He can be one of the sickest kids in the hospital and he is always trying to make the other kids happy. That's exactly how Audrey was," said Krista Erickson.

The Erickson's say while they were anxious about the meeting before hand, afterwards they say it was like they had known each other all along.

"He's just like another brother that I have. Couldn't really ask for anyone else to have her heart. It's like she is still around cause when we are with him you still got that feeling that she is around," said Casey Erickson, one of Audrey's older brothers.

"Tommy is just and young amazing boy. In my belief and in my faith he has a long life ahead of him...with Audrey's heart in him," said Sean Erickson.

The Erickson's say this was the first but definitely not the last time they plan on seeing Tommy and his family.

Plans for a second reunion are already in the works.