CHICAGO -- At a Bronzeville church Sunday, one mother was united with the many people whose lives her son changed for the better— even after his death.
The nonprofit Gift of Hope hosted a celebration of life at Apostolic Faith Church Sunday, uniting Emma O`Neal with the many people who received her son's organs after he passed away.
"My son was always a giver," Emma said.
Emma's son, Mario Cousins, was just 20 in August, 2016 when a gunman walked up to him and shot him in the head. After doctors told Emma that Mario was brain dead, she says she decided to carry on Mario`s life by agreeing to organ donation.
"I prayed that I would be able to hold my baby again, just to hear his heart beat, because it was so strong," she said.
Mario's lung, kidneys, liver and heart were all donated. Then on Sunday, Emma came face-to-face with the lives changed by that decision. She got to feel his strong heart beating again, in the chest of recipient Pam Morris.
"My baby is still living on," Emma said. "He's still giving the gift of love."
Heart transplant recipient Pam Morris said it feels "miraculous."
"It feels wonderful because it's beating and I have no infection and no rejection," Pam said. "Her son`s heart will live on in me because he gave me life."