Family Meets Recipient Of Son’s Heart

By Kym Gable

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — One family’s gift this holiday season is something few can imagine – they met the recipient of their son’s heart.

Karen and Don Brill, originally from Mount Washington, met 51-year-old “Louis” in Nevada on Dec. 11. Louis did not want his last name published. Karen Brill says it was “an amazing” experience as she listened to the heartbeat with a stethoscope.

The family moved from Pittsburgh to Nevada about 13 years ago. In February of 2009, 16-year-old Aric, a charitable, athletic and gifted teen, was gunned down during a robbery in Las Vegas.

The gunman, a suspected gang member, is still on the run. After his death, Aric’s heart, kidneys, pancreas, liver and lung were donated.

Karen Brill is in town visiting relatives for the holidays and raising awareness about organ donation.

“If somebody can’t use their organs anymore, other people can,” she told KDKA’s Kym Gable. “You know, life goes on and Aric’s life goes on through other people.”


One Comment

  1. Patty Dippold says:

    How amazing!!!! It is great to see these stories. It is a shame that the media only covers them during the holidays. These things are happening daily right here in Pittsburgh. There are also many donors and recepients giving back and living fuller lives around Western Pa. It would be nice to have an indepth study of the transplant culture in the area.


      Thank God, finally a story about good people.

      Christmas is about Jesus’ sacrifice for our sinful behavior, loving Mammon instead of truth.


      It’s about giving, but not plastic junk from China.

    2. Mike says:

      I just can’t imagine the joy of picking up that stethoscope and listening to my son’s heart beating! That is truly wonderful.

      To take it a step further, I wonder if the recipient has developed any of the characteristics of the boy. Sometimes that happens, just wondering.

  2. Nathan says:

    How touching. If that were my son I would bust out into tears to hear his heart beating again.

  3. kellyerusinack says:

    i agree with patty d. the media needs to report more of these stories. not enough people sign up for organ donation, many do not even discuss it with friends or family, and die with organs that can help save the life of another person. i know that there are lots of people who have religious or other ethical reasons not to donate – it shouldn’t be mandatory, like they were trying to do in new york. but more people should be considering this, not just at this time of the year, but all the time. how beautiful that this family was able to save the lives of so many other people with their selfless gift of their son’s organs. what a beautiful, handsome young man he was, obviously, inside and out.

    1. Karen VT says:

      An “Opt Out” system is the answer for Organ donation. By default everybody is IN and you have to opt out if you don’t want to donate… then we’ll know who all the narcossists are 🙂 And while I am on the topic of “Opt in” and “Opt Out”… an “opt in” system is better for pornography then at least then we know who all the perverts are!

      1. Will says:

        I officially “opt in” to leave you my brain when I die.

  4. rob says:

    Maybe if the media made people more aware of how organ donation helps people, folks would be more receptive to signing up at their local department of motor vehicles. What could be better than the gift of life for both the giver and receiver?

  5. Jarhead6981 says:

    I just read your attached link. I’m sorry, I was wrong about you. YOU ARE MUCH MORE OF A THREAT O OUR SOCIETY THAN I THOUGHT. You actually BELIEVE it was known and set up by our own government to take down the World Trade Center? No more Mr. Nice guy here….I now go on the offensive. You are a moron, without an inkling of thought provoking views of fact. Only simplistic diatribe that only people like Glenn Beck would agree with. I am as afraid of people like you destroying this great country as any radical terrorist. You spread your wrongful views and spread nothing but hate. I accept your gift with glee….Yes! I Now Hate YOU….with a great passion. I believe I am on the same side of the isle, as is said about politics, but you are not my brethren in view of this country. You are an idiot. Simple so you can understand it…more-over, a idiot of humanity with moron tendencies. Stop using good people’s oxygen.

    1. Jarhead6981 says:

      What I sound like is a true American with a heart. Try it.

      Pantywaste? After 28 years in the Corps and acquiring the rank of Master Sergeant in Communication Logistics some punk with views out of the dark ages calls ME a pantywaste? DAMN, WHY CAN’T THESE PEOPLE MEET ME IN PERSON WITH THESE WORDS OF COWARDICE.

      If you cancer-of-the-brain children will actually READ what I say, you will be miles ahead of your other brothers in moron-town. I have no problem with what you say in the proper forum. This was NOT a political story and you just attack because you thought I was against his view. I believe in some but not all of what he said. Do you also think America itself plotted and carried out the attack on the World Trade Center? I was eluding to the fact he wasn’t at a political forum. Your attack on a fellow Right-wing Libertarian speaks volumes. The problem is that other lefty-loonies also read these and see us on the right fighting each other. It gives them hope. The same I feel when reading your moronic retorts to logical human emotion and correction of fact…it scars me about the future with people like you at the helm.

      To finish. Bring your moronic child-like posts of spewing chunks of hate and BS. I expect no less form you from the less than notable responses so far.

      Stick to the subject matter children.

      1. CleanFun says:

        It’s not so much the truth that people like you are afraid of, it’s what the truth implies that threatens to tear apart the false reality you’ve created and deliberately chose to live in. You embarrass yourself.

      2. twan says:

        Oh Wow, a tough gy, Lawdy Lawd Hep Me Hep Me.

  6. Will says:

    May this young man rest in peace forever and God Bless his parents for providing life to others after the tragic loss of their son. A story, such as this, during the Christmas Season is beyond heart warming.

    1. Merry Christmas says:

      Excellent comment, Will. You said everything I was thinking. RIP Aric. I pray for strength for his family to cope with their devastating loss. And to Louis, I’m so glad you returned the generosity to Aric’s family. As you can see, you made Mrs. Brill so happy and reinforced the truth that her son lives on through you.

  7. xjoyce says:

    Karen, My heart goes out to you and your family, that was a wonderful thing u did for all the people who got a organ from your son. He does live on honey. from your old friend Joyce in Mt. Washington love you

  8. TheLibertine says:

    Hank Warren is doing what too many are afraid to do: speak the truth. You sound like a product of institutionalized thinking to me. You probably voted for that moron McCain because he was the lesser of two evils. Preach on, Brother Hank! The revolution will not be televised!

  9. Bryan Abbott says:

    If there was a Noble Prize for inappropriateness I’m sure you would have won.

    A boy is murdered, you can see his face up there at the top of the screen. He looks like anyone’s son, mine or yours. Either he or his parents made the decision to to donate his organs and in his last act as a living, breathing human he saves another mans life.

    And you want to promote a politician while his final story is being read.

    You’re a sick man.

    1. Zeechus says:

      Who’s Hank?

  10. seanpatriot says:


  11. Asian view says:

    This will be the new wave of the future as more and more people will desperately need organs and healthy young people will be nothing more than walking talking “banks”.
    These organs sell in the open market for tens of thousands for each organ. It is average for a liver or spleen to sell at 30 thousand or more. Hearts and lungs cost even more.
    As crime rises our teenagers are easy victims for organ harvesting. It is a real danger that we need to take seriously.

  12. Nobommunism for me says:

    God bless the boy and his family.
    God damn the Obama voter and illegal alien that killed him.

    1. Steve says:


    2. Prince says:

      what the f…!? what does obama have to do with ANY part of this story!? my god, i bet you cry about bill clinton when it snows!

  13. Bubba says:

    This is a moving story and it is so sad this child had to lose his life but so fortunate that this man was able to make use of his heart and I am sure his other organs likewise helped others. I would encourage everyone to be an organ donor, it is easy usually just check a box on your drivers license reneweal.

  14. Paolo says:

    I bet Louis’ last name is jewish, and he didnt want to be associated with the organ theft scandals in Israel. He is probably a casino executive in Las Vegas. I guess, he should need a new heart anyway.

    1. Aaron says:

      How you could make such a cynical reply to this story is disturbing. You need some serious training in compassion, altruism and understanding gratitude. The only observations you have to offer are negative, and that’s sad

  15. Michele says:

    Karen, This is beautiful and touches each of us deeply. Peace and Love across the miles, cousin! We love you all.

  16. Jeff A Smyth says:

    I too am a heart recipient. At age 64 I received the heart of a 22 year old who was critically injured in a construction accident. After almost 2 years we were able to meet the family and it was an emotional experience for all but did provide some closure. Now I can play with my grandkids and play tennis at a reasonabley high level. It was truly one of God’s miracles. God bless America’s health care system.

  17. single_payer says:

    This is a very selective blog, and you probably won’t print this either.
    Random organ donation without equal access to healthcare is unethical.
    Donation between familiar parties is.

    1. marty says:

      “Equal Access” is a questionable term. If you chose to purchase insurance before you got sick, then you should have equal access. But choosing not to spend the money on insurance is a decision to opt out of equal access. Insurance is expensive, but so is the research, training and equipment that goes into health care.

  18. Coasty says:

    I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good things, therefore, that I can do, any kindness that I can show a fellow being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
    Stephen Grellet


    Finally, a story about Christmas spirit, instead of the evil, Madison Avenue, Santa Claus, and his ridiculous buying campaign which serves Mammon.

    Christmas is about Jesus’ sacrifice for our sinful behavior, loving Mammon instead of truth.


  20. kc says:

    More people would be an organ donor if it did not go to the highest bidder. The family cannot choose who gets the organ. It is a great story, but they need to provide the true process of who gets the organ and why. That is why I am not an organ donor.

  21. Ted says:

    God Bless the Brills for making the decision to donate Aric’s organs so that others may receive, through their heartbreaking loss. I think it is a gift that they were able to meet Louis and know that in a way their son lives on and for Louis to meet them and fully accept the gift that he received. My Dad died from a heart attack in 1980 and his corneas were donated, I find that a blessing.

  22. David Borders says:

    I am in tears reading this story. It takes a helluva lot to make me cry. God Bless Aric and his family. The word inspirational doesn’t seem to quite do them justice. I am awestruck of this family.

  23. Jo says:

    Would you rather live on life support (you are essentially a vegetable) and cause your family to go bankrupt just to keep you “alive” in a hospital for possibly weeks/months/years when there is no way you will ever have a functioning body again, or give away your organs that will give someone else a life they otherwise could never have? Somebody better pull the plug on me and hand out my organs if that were ever the case for me…

  24. Robbie says:

    Very touching story. Now lets find Aric’s killer and make him an organ donor.

  25. jgreene says:

    This is just a beautiful story. I also want to say that this young man should have the prayers of the world. What a wonderful gift of life to others.

  26. Frank M. says:

    Just seen this article posted on Drudge Report.
    I am also part of a donor family.
    My 13 year old son Kevin, had an AVM which ruptured on Apr. 24, 2005.
    He went from what I would consider to be; perfectly healthy to brain dead in 6 hours. When TransLife had approached us about organ donation I was a bit skeptical. But after thinking it over, the decision was made to donate. The belief was that at least parts of Kevin could still go on. We have never regretted the decision to donate. We have never met any of the recipients. But I do know that one of them lives in Philly. We reside in central Florida and often think of the recipients. . I keep trying to start a letter, to the 5 recipients. But get lost in emotion in about the first few sentences. Perhaps after reading this article, I will muster enough courage to author a letter. God Bless All

  27. Zeechus says:

    Hey, Paolo, what’s he wearing?

  28. Mark FL says:

    Karen, I strongly disagree; gov’t mandated organ donation is a violation of every individual’s rights. The term is “organ donation,” not organ confiscation. It is the right of the potential donor to determine that she/he wants to donate organs. It should not automatically be mandated, if the deceased individual did not foresee his/her death and never got around to completing the “opting out.”

    Organ donation is charity. Charity can not and should not be mandated by ANY government.

  29. reninfl says:

    Wrong……you don’t know the facts. The patient is brain declared brain dead before the organs are harvested. Just because a heart is beating, that doesn’t mean that the donor is alive. These patients typically don’t even have blood perfusing their brain when the organs are harvested.

    1. AnneK says:

      Sorry, reninfl, you’re the one who doesn’t understand the way this works. If you’d actually read the article I provided, you’d see that “brain death” was a term created specifically to acquire more organ donations – since organs are useless after true death occurs. “Brain dead” is a misnomer, and often times is an out and out lie. The body is most certainly alive! Removing the vital organs causes death. If you think there’s no blood in the brain when the organs are removed, you are sadly, sadly mistaken. The body MUST be alive for the organs to be useable.

  30. John Lennox says:

    I received a heart on 8-1-09 and honestly, I don’t really care how I got it. Neither do my 4 children. We are simply grateful.

  31. carolyn gallaher says:

    i would thinik twice about organ donation, go to life guardian .org

  32. MargW says:

    That’s ridiculous. Organs aren’t on the open market. You’re obviously talking “conspiracy” nonsense.

  33. jim says:

    I have considered donating my body to science fiction.

Comments are closed.

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