KEARNEY, Mo. (WDAF) — A Missouri family got a gift over the weekend that was years in the making: the chance to hear their son’s heartbeat again.
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More than two years ago, Taylor Ware, a young Marine from Kearney, died, but he was an organ donor.
The details surrounding the end of Ware’s life are difficult and more than anything, his family wishes he was still here. But his family says knowing his heart is still beating gives them peace.
“Taylor was a person with a heart of gold,” his dad, Thomas Ware, said.
The 24-year-old joined the Marines just as his dad did. In high school, he was an all-state wrestler for Kearney High School. He traveled across the United States and Europe, experiencing the world.
Ware also struggled with his mental health. He was honorably discharged in 2019.
“I had a wonderful son,” Ware said.
Taylor died in August 2019. His family said they were in Indiana trying to get him home for mental health care. They called police for help because he was in distress. There was a struggle, and afterward, Ware died at a hospital from a medical condition related to delirium.
“A month prior to Taylor’s passing, he signed up to be an organ donor,” his father said.
At the same time, Clay Yates was struggling in a St. Louis hospital. The realtor and father of two had an enlarged heart.
“Due to my severity, I was placed rather high on the top of the list,” Yates said.
Taylor’s heart became Clay’s heart. On Saturday, Thomas got to hear his son’s heartbeat again inside of Clay.
“Overwhelming, to say the least. Tears of joy. To listen to my son’s heart, it was very emotional. I hope to keep hearing it beat for a long, long time,” Ware said.
“You have to realize what they’re dealing with and what they are going through is quite literally the opposite of what I was experiencing. I was joyous of getting a second chance at life while they’re mourning,” Yates said.
Taylor’s dad is happy his gift is helping Clay live a lifetime.
“It just brings joy that Taylor could help Clay out and his family. They’re a wonderful, beautiful family. Taylor is smiling down from heaven now,” Ware said.
“He gave me a second chance at life, and I will forever be grateful for that,” Yates said.
Taylor’s lungs were also donated to an unknown person. His family is hoping to meet them in the same way sometime in the future.