Monday, December 11, 2017
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The meeting of a lifetime

Reginald Mercer IV was a fun loving, talented artist. His skills earned him a full scholarship to the University of Memphis and a showing at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. But sadly, a car accident ended his life at 25, just when it was beginning.

Reginald Mercer IV was killed in a car accident in 2014. His organs saved five lives.

Reginald’s mother, Barbara Edmond, decided to donate his organs. Her generosity saved five lives, including Coasie Parker’s. Coasie was placed on the transplant waiting list after doctors discovered her heart was functioning at only 5% capacity. Since receiving Reginald’s heart, she graduated from college and is pursuing a master’s degree.

Barbara Edmond (left) hugs Coasie Parker (right), the recipient of her son’s heart.

On Tuesday, Barbara and Coasie met, and Barbara heard her son’s heart beat for the first time since she lost him three years ago.

Baptist Memphis was the perfect setting for this special occasion. Not only did Coasie receive her new heart there, but Barbara was a longtime Baptist blood bank team member. Sometimes, she worked with one of the founders of our heart transplant program – heart surgeon Dr. Ed Garrett – who performed Coasie’s transplant.

It takes a special team to make our transplant program successful, and I believe we have the best group in the world. Since our program started 32 years ago, they have performed 380 heart transplants, including 17 this year. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee recently designated the program a “Blue Distinction Center” because it delivers proven results for quality care and treatment.

Barbara Edmond (right) hears her son’s heart beat for the first time since he passed away in 2014. Coasie Parker (left) received his heart.

If you’ve ever spoken with our transplant team, you know our recipients are like family, so it was fitting that they helped organize this meeting of a lifetime. Thanks to them, Barbara has a piece of her precious son, and Coasie has, in her words, “a second mom.”

For additional coverage of this special meeting, read the Leader article titled “Where miracles happen every day” or go to our Facebook page. If you have any questions or comments for me, email me, tweet me @jason_m_little or find me on LinkedIn.

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