A Texas couple got a happy wedding surprise when the man who received their son's heart showed up at their nuptials so they could hear their boy's heart beat once again.
Monica and Dean Berckenhoff, of Willis, Texas, were in a courtroom Friday, waiting for the judge to marry them, when their relatives introduced them to surprise wedding guest Travis Stufflebean, 28, of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
It was the first time that the couple got to meet the man who had received their dead son's heart and were able to hear it beating again in seven years.
Travis Stufflebean (in green) surprised Texas couple Monica and Dean (in blue) Berckenhoff during their wedding, giving them the chance to listen to their son's heart seven years after they donated it following the boy's freak accident death in 2012
Stufflebean (left) was 20 years old when he received Colton's (right) heart. Stufflebean had been born half a heart that didn't work and previously had five open heart surgeries
The Berckenhoffs' 11-year-old son, Colton, had died in a freak accident in June 2012, after which the couple decided to donate his heart and other organs to be used in transplant patients, the Telegraph reported.
The then 20-year-old Stufflebean, who was born with half a heart that didn't work, was the lucky recipient of Colton's heart. He had had five previous open heart surgeries.
The Berckenhoffs told KTRK that they had always wanted to go to Arkansas to meet Stufflebean, but that the funds and timing hadn't worked out.
But, in December 2018, Monica's sister, Amanda McDonald, and the siblings' parents decided to it was finally time to make it happen.
They secretly arranged for Stufflebean to travel to Willis to meet the Berckenhoffs, making a special day all the more memorable by giving the couple the chance to listen to Colton's heart beat on the same day they were pronounced man and wife.
Stufflebean (in green) is shown here walking into the courtroom in the middle of the Berckenhoff's wedding as Monica (in white) gasps with surprise to see him there