7 Healthcast: Heart transplant
Every time DiMaggio's heart beats, Gaizka Larranaca's heart beats too.
In August 2003, Mary's heart was failing, but Gaizka's heart gave her new life.
"I woke up from the surgery. I could breathe better and felt better," DiMaggio said.
She found out her heart came from a young man from Spain.
More than four years and a couple of letters later, Mary decided to visit the country from where her new heart came.
"I had wanted to take his heart home," DiMaggio said. "I wanted them to know me, know that his heart continued to tick and that there was still a part of him that was still alive."
In three short days, strangers became family.
As much as Mary needed to visit his family, she knew the family needed her as well.
"Because they didn't get to say goodbye to him," DiMaggio said. "He was in Reno. They were in Spain. All they had was the ashes brought home. And when I showed up to be able to hear the heartbeat and they all heard the heartbeat and felt it. They were able to say goodbye."
Mary says her story shows how important it is to become a donor and not wait until there is a tragedy. She really wants to see Gaizka's family again and hopes that they will visit soon.(Copyright 2007 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)