IE mom listens to late son's heart for first time, meets organ recipient as birthday gift

YUCAPIA, Calif. (KABC) -- Through a stethoscope, an Inland Empire mother received a birthday gift like no other from a stranger this weekend. For the first time, Valerie Maseuli listened to her son's heart after he passed away.

"This is the best gift ever. And I feel that was the gift my son gave, too," said Maseuli.

Her son, Derek Maseuli, was 34 years old when he passed away in 2018 after an accident. He was an organ donor. Valerie Maseuli, who is a registered nurse, said the family had talked about organ donations in the past.

"I have seen so many great miracles in the operating room come out of tragedies," said Maseuli.

Derek's heart was given to Raymond Jenkins who suffered from heart failure.

"It was life-changing. I went from being able to walk maybe 30 yards with having to take a break to just going back to a normal life," said Jenkins.

It is a story with many coincidences. Jenkins' wife, Tamari Jenkins, was Derek's Spanish teacher from college. The families connected after finding each other on social media and planned this lovely surprise at a Yucaipa restaurant.

"They are wonderful people. His mom has a beautiful heart and they're passionate about organ [donation] and that's very special," said Tamari Jenkins.

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