RONKONKOMA, NY — It was a special moment at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma when a heart transplant recipient met the donor’s daughter for the first time.
Long Island resident Raymond Miehl, 62, met Ashley Brayton of Ohio, whose father’s heart now beats in his chest, after she exited the gate from her Southwest Airlines flight. They met Friday, Nov. 15.
Ashely's father, Ronnie Davis, died March 1, 2016, at the age of 46. On March 3, 2016, Miehl received his heart.
The families first contacted each other two years ago, and have been planning this meeting for more than a year.
“I say you can’t take your organs to heaven, so you might as well give somebody a fighting chance that might not otherwise have one,” said Brayton.
Miehl expressed his gratitude and vowed to honor her father’s memory by taking care of his health.
“We were very grateful and thankful…that she knows that her father is still going and that he’s living still. And I’m taking care of it as much as I can and as good as I can,” said Miehl.
“I would definitely ask people to donate. My wife is a donor, my daughter’s a donor. I don’t know if I could be, but if I could, I would definitely be a donor. And I think that people would definitely benefit from other people being donors,” he added.
The families plan to maintain contact.