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The gift of life

Yesterday's story about the visit of Ryan Miller to see the home of Dakarai Tucker restores faith in mankind, even when we are facing difficult times.

Dakarai Tucker died four years ago at the age of 15, two weeks after suffering a brain aneurysm.

But his family made the decision to donate his organs and Ryan Miller, a 16-year-old New Jersey student with a potentially fatal heart condition, received his heart.

And so, in death, Dakarai and his family enabled another life to continue. And it also meant that a crucial part of Dakarai lives on as well.

Donors' families and their recipients often don't know who each other are. The emotions are too raw, and the psychology is complicated.

But if all are willing to meet and get to know each other, then it can be very positive.

And so the extraordinary scene of Dakarai's parents, Stephen and Dawna Tucker, placing their hands on Ryan's chest and feeling their son's heart beating again, was made possible.

A heart transplant remains a remarkable thing today, but it is also an accepted part of life, when just decades ago it was virtually impossible, something that seemed to belong more in science fiction than science.

That's why it is so important to be a donor and to make sure that family and friends know about it.

You never known when an organ may come to be used to give someone else sight, a kidney, or life.

It is also a powerful symbol of how much unites us. Bermuda and much of the rest of the world was still segregated half a century ago.

And it was not much longer ago that people from around the world were fighting world wars.

We still have wars, and we still have racial differences.

But the fact that a white American teenager is living, and walking around with a black Bermudian teenager's heart giving him life says volumes about how similar we are and how far we have come.

If a heart can be given, then that makes our other differences inconsequential, doesn't it?

In the end though, it is the gift of life that matters. Dakarai Tucker lives on in the chest of Ryan Miller. Ryan Miller will live and give back because of it.

Look after yourself, Ryan Miller. You carry a precious part of Bermuda around with you.

Ryan Miller, visiting the Island from the United States, is making a documentary and meeting the family of his donor Dakarai Tucker. Ryan received Dakarai's heart following his sudden death. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published February 28, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated February 28, 2012 at 7:52 am)

The gift of life

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