Transplant recipient gives donor family heartbeat recording

A southern Minnesota heart transplant recipient has given a teddy bear with a recording of her heartbeat to her organ donor's family.

Alyssa Sandeen, 27, received Kate Leekley's heart in a transplant after Leekley died at the age of 20 in a car crash involving a drunk driver in 2013.

She recorded her heartbeat at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato on Friday, the Mankato Free Press reported . Staff used a specialized stethoscope, speaker and recording device to capture the sound of an amplified heartbeat.

It took staff a few attempts before they were able to capture an audible recording.

"She'll be able to hear her daughter's heartbeat whenever she wants," Sandeen said.

Christopher Sandeen, Alyssa Sandeen's father, came up with the idea for the gift.

She put the recording into a teddy bear and gifted it to the Leekley family Saturday, when she met Kate Leekley's mother, Jennifer Leekley.

"She can hold her little angel close to her, sleep with her at night," Alyssa Sandeen said.

Lisa Sandeen, Alyssa Sandeen's mother, said she understands how much the bear would mean to a parent.

"Just to have this heartbeat with you at all times, you still have that piece of your daughter with you," Lisa Sandeen said.

Alyssa Sandeen and Jennifer Leekley also walked together Saturday in honor of Kate Leekley at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving fundraiser in Illinois.


Information from: The Free Press,