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Murder victim's heart saves young girl's life

Posted at 11:38 PM, Nov 09, 2018

A mother living without her teenage son who was shot and killed last year got to meet the girl whose life he saved with his heart.    

Xavier Young was an organ donor.

Although lost to gun violence, his gift saved more than one life, it saved an entire family.

"I think he really wanted me to see that he’s ok and his heart is also still going," said Jennifer Young.

Young is Xavier's mother.  He was 14 when he was shot and killed in Laurel last year.

"We buried him a year ago back on the 6th so this week has been really tough," Young said.

But in darkness, a little light; Young met the girl who now holds her son's heart.

"My son would’ve loved to meet her in life and would’ve heard about her all the time so it’s bittersweet to me," said Young.

For Ihm's family, it was an emotional and humbling meeting.

"As we celebrate, Gwendolyn’s heart transplant we also have to remember that at that same time there’s another family that are remembering another year of not having their loved one with them," said Brian Ihm's, whose daughter now has Young's heart.

Ihm was diagnosed with Leukemia before she was just two months old; the radiation wreaked havoc on her heart; one family's tragedy saves another from heartbreak.

"Without Xavier’s heart Gwendolyn would not be at school, she wold not be running around, she would not be able to participate like all the kids," Ihm said.

Everyone was all smiles, and then a surreal moment; young heard her son's heart beating inside of Gwen.

"It’s not really him it’s a piece and that’s amazing too," said Young.

The families have spoken but never met; Friday they will never be a part as that which is most precious to both families lives inside this little girl.

"I just feel like they remind me so much of him, it’s like he went back to family is what I want to say," Young told WMAR-2 News.

"Without the help of God, maybe Jennifer wouldn't have made the decision that she made," said Ihm.

Now, the hope is for the girl with a heart of gold is to be a normal 13-year-old.

"We just want her to have a couple of good years of health and Xavier’s gift has given us that," said Ihm.

Young was able to donate seven organs and save five lives after his death last November.

There are nearly 3500 people waiting for an organ transplant in Maryland.

Miraculously, Ihm was able to get her new heart in six weeks.