Local heart donor recipient meets donor's family

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - It was an emotional day, Friday, as two families met for the first time. 

One family lost a young son three years ago, the other received his heart, which saved the life of their little girl.

At just 10-months-old, Emma Salgado was diagnosed with a heart murmur that would require a heart transplant.

After two months at UCLA hospital, the life-saving call came.

"It was August 27th in the middle of the night, like 2 a.m., when somebody came in, the doctor came rushing into our room and he said we got the call," Emma's mother, Gemma Salgado, said.

But the call that would ultimately save Emma's life, came from the loss of another child, 14-month-old Carter Lott who drowned hundreds of miles away in Arizona.     

In the middle of the hardest moment of her life, Carter's mother Kristi Lott, didn't hesitate to donate her son's organs, if that meant someone else, like Emma, could live.

"When I found out that he wasn't gonna come back, it was extremely difficult, but, you know the fact is that, you know, I wanted him to help somebody else," Lott said. "I cant imagine how her parents felt knowing that they might now get to see her grow up, so i'm very happy to give them more time with her." 

Now, two years since the transplant, the families met for the first time in Bakersfield on Saturday, and celebrated Emma's life through the help of JJ's Legacy.

"The fear I had for my daughter, was the same fear she probably had for her son," Salgado said. "And now I, because of her, I get to hug my daughter every day."

And, it was like carter was right there too as Lott listened to her sons heart beat inside Emma.

"It's just something, you know, I'll always remember," Lott said. "It really is. I never thought I would be able to, you know, after they told me he wasn't going to wake up, you know, it's something that I never thought I would get to hear again so I'm, extremely grateful."

Lott said Emma is a lot like her son.

"They say she's so energetic, she reminds me a lot of my son's personality," Lott said. "He was very much the same way. Even being that little, he had an extremely bright and bubbly personality."

Today, and always, a little piece of carter, beats for Emma.

"Part of her is still Carter," Salgado said. "Carter will always be with us."

The families said they plan to keep in touch, with the Salgado's promising to update the Lott's on Emma as she grows older with Carter's heart.

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