Organ Recipient Meets Donor's Family

ODESSA - Tears seemed to roll out much faster than words when Henry Middleton finally met Alma Avila, Saturday.

Middleton wanted to thank Avila for her son's ultimate gift. The Middleton and Avila families gathered at Odessa Regional Medical Center for a banquet to honor organ donors and recipients.

Middleton received Avila's son Dominic's heart four years earlier.

"Words can't express how I feel," Alma Avila said with Henry Middleton's arm slung loosely around her shoulder.

Middleton, a Dallas man, flew in for the special meeting to say thanks. Doctors performed the transplant on Middleton's 50th birthday, just one day after Dominc's death.

"I just want to thank her and her family more than I could ever put in words. If I could tell you a thousand times it wouldn't be enough," Middleton said.

Back in 2005 Dominic Avila, accidentally shot himself to death. The healthy 21-year-old left behind seven of his vital organs.

"You're leaving a legacy if you are an organ donor. You're saving lives," Pam Silvestri, a spokesperson for Southwest Transplant Alliance, said.

The Southwest Transplant Alliance hosted the banquet.

"My son lives on with Mr. Middleton," Avila said.

Both families say God had a hand in the gift.

"God was ready for one and then he said to the other one I still have things for you to do," Middleton said.

The Avila's brought gifts and pictures. There was finally a face to go with the heart still pumping life through Middleton's veins.

"He was a great individual for giving me such a great gift," Middleton, said.