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Gift of Life Received by Melissa Simon '02 Featured in Ladies' Home Journal

June 25, 2011

99765June 25, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — A feature in the current (June 2011) issue of Ladies' Home Journal, "Lifesavers: Stories of Organ Donation," shares the experiences of Melissa (Reinke) Simon, a 2002 graduate of DePauw University.  The article details how Simon received a heart transplant in June 2007 and how the operation saved and changed her life.

About six months after receiving a new heart, Simon reached out to Jon and Linda Coleman, the parents of the 14-year-old girl whose tragic death led to the organ donation which gave Simon a second chance at life. 

"The couple felt an instant connection to the woman they knew only as 'Melissa,' but whenever they tried to write back they fell apart after a few sentences," notes the magazine. "Then one day, sweeping behind a couch, Linda Coleman found one of the origami birds that Chloe's classmates had made in her memory. It opened to reveal the hand-printed word open-hearted. On the anniversary of 99766Chloe's death the Colemans sent that letter, enclosing the bird. Simon was so moved that, with the sponsorship of Donate Life Illinois (where she volunteers), she videotaped herself reading a letter to Chloe and urging organ donation. The link to that video (watch it here) popped up over a year later when Jon Coleman, sitting in an airport, googled 'Melissa, heart transplant, Chicago.' As he watched the video, tears streamed down his face. That experience led to the Colemans' first phone call to Simon."

Access the complete text at the Journal's website.

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