Mom Grieves Son's Death, Gets Letter In Mail One Year Later
After Payton's death, his mother was completely distraught.
Kirsten Spruch

No parent should ever have to bury their children. It is an absolute tragedy that we try to avoid at all costs but unfortunately, heartbreaking things like this still happen all the time.

It is hands down one of the most painful things you could ever put a mother and father through — it is nearly impossible to bear.

Unfortunately, Anna Hutt has experienced this deep, dark pain firsthand. She was the mother to her 16-year-old son Payton, who was out riding his new dirt bike when he was suddenly hit by a wayward van.

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He was sadly not wearing his helmet and the injuries he endured in the accident were so severe, he passed away shortly after.

Just in the nick of time though, Payton received his learner’s permit just a few weeks before the accident.

During that process, he marked that he wanted to be an organ donor, which at the time his mother Anna, did not approve of at all.

“Payton was so intelligent and loved playing pranks on people,” describes his mom, Anna Hutt, who now lives in Clarinda, Iowa. “He was great with computers, enjoyed welding, working on cars and his dirt bike.”

Posted by Nebraska Medicine onSunday, May 14, 2017

She was extremely against it.

“I will never forget that conversation,” Anna said. “I told Payton, ‘What you come into this world with, you should leave with.’ But Payton didn’t believe that. He told me, ‘Mom, they’re my organs – not yours. Are you telling me that if something happens to me, you’d let my organs rot in the ground? No. I want to be a donor and help people.’”

Of course, that was one belief Anna had at the time until she later learned that Payton would be changing so many people’s lives for the better long after his.

She had no idea that while she was saying goodbye to her son, a man by the name of Gary was also getting ready to say goodbye to his life.

Gary, who is a father and grandfather, was in desperate need of a new heart after being diagnosed with a serious heart condition called nonischemic cardiomyopathy.

In 2007, Gary was diagnosed with nonischemic cardiomyophathy, an enlargement of the heart. By May 2014, approximately…

Posted by Nebraska Medicine onSunday, May 14, 2017

Doctors did not think they would find a heart match in time and his heart was only working at 4%. They only gave him a few months to live.

“I remember transplant surgeon Dr. John Um telling me, ‘Gary, you’re a very sick man. I’m not sure if we will get you a heart in time.’” Gary recalled. “After hearing that, I made peace with dying. There were no tears. I knew I wouldn’t live without a heart.”

Just six days after he was put on the donor list though, a nurse told Gary that they found a match — and it was Payton’s.

The doctors performed the surgery and successfully put Payton’s heart in Gary’s chest.

Gary was given a second chance at life, and he wasn’t about to give up now.

A year after the surgery, Gary wrote a letter to Anna to thank her for giving him Payton’s heart. Since then the two kept communication through letters and phone calls for the next few years.

This year however for Mother’s Day, the two got to finally meet in person.

Nearly three years after losing her teenage son in a dirt bike accident, Anna Hutt heard his heart beat again – on…

Posted by Nebraska Medicine onSunday, May 14, 2017

This meant that Anna had the opportunity to hear her son’s heart beat once again. It was a miracle.

Naturally, it was a very emotional meeting for every participant, but it was also beautiful and filled with so much joy.

“I have two birthdays now,” Gary said. “I always tell people that I’m 64 going on 18. My first birthday is February 27 – the day I was actually born. The other birthday is May 23 – the day I received Payton’s heart. That birthday means much more to me.”

Payton’s heart undoubtedly had a massive impact on Gary’s life — it changed it, in fact.

But it doesn’t even end there. Payton ended up helping six other individuals with vital organs that they so desperately needed as well.

It is still tragically sad that Anna will never get to physically see her son again, but it is also so incredible and beautiful to have his legacy continue on as he helps all of these other people live their second lives!

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By Kirsten Spruch
Kirsten Spruch is a contributor at SBLY Media.