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www.wmfd.com - A California college student's life was cut short, but her organs have saved other people, including one woman who has made an unusual promise to her family. }}" />

   
 
 
Organ Recipient To Live Out Donor's Bucket List

Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
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  Original Published: 3/28/2014

A California college student's life was cut short, but her organs have saved other people, including one woman who has made an unusual promise to her family. Tyler May explains. "Twenty-one is too young to lose your life because of someone else's stupid mistake," says Emily Chesterman, sister of Kristina Chesterman. "We're gonna be dealing with the loss of Kristina the rest of our lives and there's nothing that can change that now," says Aaron Chesterman, Kristina Chesterman's brother. "She was everybody's angel here on earth," said a friend of Kristina Chesterman. On Sept. 22, 2013, the city of Trees, became a city of tears. Chico State nursing student Kristina Chesterman was riding her bike home after a long day of studying, hit by an alleged drunk driver, left lying helpless on Nord Avenue. "We got a call late Sunday night at home in Livermore, it was the call that no parent wants to get," says David Chesterman, Kristina Chesterman's father. Through vigils and prayers, there was a sliver of hope she'd be okay. But two days later, on Sept. 24, fears of the worst were realized. Doctors declared Kristina Chesterman brain dead. In life, her goal was to help others. In death, it was no different. Kristina Chesterman was an organ donor. Two babies received parts of her liver. A family friend got a kidney. "Then I got the call on September 25th." Just 250 miles to the south, 64-year-old Susan Vieira was in congestive heart failure. She'd been on the transplant list since July. "I never dreamed in my life of that how they would remediate my heart," says Vieira. That phone call just three days after Kristina's death, was from doctors at Stanford University. They had a heart. It was a match. Vieira left asking: "You know, how did this happen to me?" she wondered. Later that night, with hearts in Chico still broken, Kristina's heart would beat again. Susan Vieira has a second chance at life. "It's kind of overwhelming that part of it," she says. As soon as she was well, she set out on a journey to find Kristina's family. She found them on Facebook and got in touch with Kristina's mother, Sandra. "The heart is who you are," said Sandra Chesterman. "I just think that I just wanted to feel Kristina again. To hear Kristina's heart beat again and I did." Vieira and Sandra Chesterman met for the first time on Sunday. "I felt an instant connection," says Sandra Chesterman. "I felt that I've known her for a long time. I felt comfortable right away. Even on the phone talking to her, I felt a connection." " The same connection you felt with Kristina?" asked reporter Tyler May. "I think it will be," said Sandra Chesterman. Vieira has made a promise to the Chesterman family. As long as she's physically able, she will fulfill the goals and dreams Kristina couldn't. "She wanted to fly a plane, she wanted to travel extensively, and she wanted to ride a camel," Sandra Chesterman says. "It's taken me so long to recover that I don't have full impact of the heart yet," Vieira says. "Kristina's waiting there to advise me." And thanks to Kristina Chesterman's gift of life, there is no rush. "I think Kristina's heart was meant to go to Susan," Sandra Chesterman says. "I'm hoping this helps you get through the grief process too," Vieira says. "I'm really hoping that for you." The man who hit Kristina Chesterman and fled the scene is currently awaiting trial. If convicted, he could spend 14 years in California state prison.

   
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