After Bill Conner suddenly lost his 20-year-old daughter, Abbey, five months ago, the grieving father felt the urge to honor the late apple of his eye.
On May 22, a day following the graduation of his son, Austin, Conner took his bike and began to ride it and travel across the country.
“This is what she would want me to do.” Conner told CBS News.
The grieving father travelled 2,600 miles, from his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to pay a visit to Broward Health Medical Center, the hospital that had Abbey’s organs for donation back in January.
Abbey and her brother were found collapsed in a resort pool over winter break in Cancun. Since then, Abbey has been diagnosed with irreversible brain injury.
She was taken to Fort Lauderdale, where she remained on life support until she underwent an organ transplant operation.
Abbey has revealed her intentions to be an organ donor at the tender age of 16.
“She registered. It’s something that she knew a long time ago. Unfortunately, it came to fruition, but that’s Abbey,” Conner said. “If you had her as a friend she always had your back, and for her to be helping people in need — that fits who she is.”
When Abbey passed away, 21-year-old Loumonth Jack, Jr. was waiting for his death at another hospital.
The man of Lafayette, Louisiana, lived with a heart attack and his heart could barely sustain functioning.
“He was given 10 days to live.” Conner said. “With Abbey and the way things went — he’s alive today.”
Abbey donated four organs, which gave life to four males, aged 20 to 60, to live, Conner said. She also donated her eyes and other tissues.
“The only person who has responded at this point is Jack Jr., the heart recipient,” Conner said.
On Father’s day, Conner met with Jack Baton Rouge on Father’s Day after Conner tried to reach him out and asked for his contact information.
“Knowing he’s alive because of Abbey, Abbey is alive inside of him — it’s her heart having him stand up straight,” Conner said. “I was happy for him and his family, and at the same time, I got to reunite with my daughter.”
The two shared a long embrace Jack as they met. Jack pulled out a stethoscope so Conner could hear Abbey heartbeat for the first time since her death in January.
“She saved me and I can’t repay her. I wish I could but I can’t.” Jack told CBS affiliate WAFB in Baton Rouge. “All I can do is send my love to her family.”
The family recorded Jack’s heartbeat so Conner could listen to it during his ride.