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Siblings get a chance to listen to their father's heartbeat four years after his sudden death

Three sisters shared a touching journey of reuniting with their father's heartbeat, four years after his passing.

Siblings get a chance to listen to their father's heartbeat four years after his sudden death
Cover Image Source: NBC Connecticut Screenshot

Organ transplantation is a medical marvel that depends on the selflessness of donors and their families, making it possible for many people to overcome life-threatening conditions and enjoy a second chance at life. In a heartwarming tale showcasing the impact of organ donation, three sisters from Connecticut experienced the incredible moment of hearing their father's heartbeat four years after his passing and meeting the recipient whose life he saved. After Kisandra Santiago's father passed away in 2019, she decided to donate his heart, with the heartfelt desire that one day she and her three siblings would have the chance to hear his heartbeat once more.


Kisandra has since embarked on a mission to locate the recipient of her father's donated heart — and after more than four years, her efforts finally paid off. "This is something that would have brought immense joy to my dad," said Santiago, a 22-year-old residing in Meriden, Connecticut, speaking with NBC Connecticut. In June 2019, Esteban Santiago, her 39-year-old father, encountered a medical emergency that led to his hospitalization. He eventually slipped into a coma. As the oldest daughter and next of kin, Kisandra Santiago faced the difficult decision to remove her father from life support.

Adhering to Esteban Santiago's wishes, the family donated his organs, including his heart. Kianna Santiago, Kisandra's younger sister, disclosed that it was one of the family's most challenging days. Nonetheless, it was a decision that profoundly impacted Peter Turzer's life. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him," Turzer expressed gratefully. In 2016, Turzer's health challenges commenced after a car accident, leading to multiple cardiac arrests during surgery for his injuries.

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Despite undergoing open heart surgery and being in a weeklong coma, Turzer defied the odds by waking up and making a remarkable recovery. Unfortunately, his health troubles persisted, eventually necessitating a leg amputation and he ultimately became a candidate for a heart transplant.

In July 2019, Turzer underwent a successful heart transplant, receiving Esteban Santiago's donated heart. The transplantation proved to be a turning point in Turzer's life, offering hope and renewed vitality. After four years, Turzer finally had the opportunity to meet the family of the man he affectionately referred to as his hero. About a year and a half ago, Turzer and Kisandra Santiago first connected through organ donation services.

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Over time, the two families maintained communication through texts, phone calls and video chats. However, due to Turzer's relocation with his wife from Connecticut to South Carolina, they couldn't meet face-to-face until now. Turzer reassured the Santiago sisters that their father's presence remains with them. "He is still part of us, and you can count on it. I'm not going anywhere," he expressed sincerely.

Kisandra shared that her father had expressed his wish to be an organ donor, specifically desiring his heart to go to someone caring and kind. "Clearly... we met Peter, and he is exactly what my dad would have wanted," Kisandra said. "I bet he is so happy to be saving someone's life. I just know. I get that feeling." Turzer expressed profound gratitude to the Santiago family, stating that he will always be there for Esteban's three daughters, considering them his family now. Both families hope their inspiring story will encourage others to consider organ donation and its profound impact on someone's life.

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