Atoka mom hears daughter's transplanted heart - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Atoka mom hears daughter's transplanted heart

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Cheyla Pettett was 29 when she was struck and killed by a car in Omaha, Nebraska. (Courtesy) Cheyla Pettett was 29 when she was struck and killed by a car in Omaha, Nebraska. (Courtesy)
Stephanie Pettett met the Omaha woman who received her daughter's heart two years ago. (Courtesy) Stephanie Pettett met the Omaha woman who received her daughter's heart two years ago. (Courtesy)

ATOKA, Okla. -- Cheyla Pettett died two years ago after being hit by a car in Omaha, Nebraska. The Atoka native had recently moved there to earn her master's degree.

But even after her death at age 29, her heart kept on giving.

Now, it connects two families forever.

"She always gave to others, and this was just her last and final gift."

Stephanie Pettett said her daughter always wanted to make an impact, but it wasn't until she got a call this summer from a woman in Omaha that she discovered just how far that impact went.

"The lady calling was the daughter of the woman who received Cheyla's heart," Pettett said.

Jan Going had been suffering from congestive heart failure for more than 20 years. She wanted to thank the mother of the registered organ donor who gave her a new heart and a new life.

"She said, 'I'm calling today because it's the two-year anniversary of the day my mom got your daughter's heart, and she was very grateful and emotional," Pettett recounted.

The two women met in Omaha late last month. Stephanie Pettett was able to listen to Cheyla's heart beating in Jan Going's chest.

"Her heart was there in spirit, and physically there, because Jan was there," Pettett said. "You can tell that their family loves their mom, and they're happy that they have her around still."

"I absolutely feel that I would not have survived much longer at all without Cheyla's heart," Going said. "Without a doubt she saved my life."

Going's family named her new heart "Ruthy" because Jan's middle name is Ruth.

At the time, they didn't realize Cheyla Pettett's middle name is also Ruth.

The families are trying to start a scholarship in Cheyla's name. They said they hope this story shows the power in being an organ donor.

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