SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - “Family is everything”, begins Charles Glover, describing life around the Glover household on the day we visited to share a very amazing story.
The most recent setback, when newborn Ivanna Harris, Charles' granddaughter, was born with a serious heart issue. After her birth, Ivanna's heart stopped beating nearly every day during the first two months of her life.
"Daily, multiple times a day. I don't think there was a day that she didn't get shocked," remembers Ivanna's mother, Valarie.
On October 18th, the call comes in from doctors that a heart has been located for Ivanna.
"I screamed and yelled," recalls Valarie, as she prepared for her daughter's surgery the next morning at a Dallas hospital.
But October 19th would day to remember for the Glover family, in more ways than just a heart transplant.
Valarie's sister Nikita Lewis went into labor a month inside a Shreveport hospital.
"She was in labor, so we didn't have the opportunity when he (Cameron) first came out," Charles' wife Tawana remembers with a smile.
As soon as doctors successfully completely Ivanna’s heart surgery, the Glovers raced back to Shreveport to be with Nikita.
"Boy, we were driving on two wheels trying to get back from Dallas."
But just months after returning home with Ivanna, Valarie received a letter in the mail.
The letter began, "Dear recipient family," Valarie began, reading the letter aloud.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, is this for real?’”
Valarie was blown away at the moment she realized she was reading a letter from the parents of the donor heart, a seven-month old name Mya Young who died at the age of 7 months while being treated for the flu.
The letter, written by Mya's mother Erin, spoke of Mya's blue eyes, how she was a happy baby and cried very little, and would often talk to herself and giggle.
“It brought me comfort and let me know her parents say this is a positive and not a negative,” Valarie said.
“I wanted them to know the heart they were getting is more than just a heart. It was my daughter’s heart,” Erin told KSLA News 12′s Doug Warner during a FaceTime interview from her home in Topeka, Kansas.
“It’s a blessing that she’s opened up. They’ve opened up and gave us the welcome to watch Ivanna grow up,” Erin said.
And it’s a blessing for Charles, he says, since his daughter was able to say ‘thank you’ to the family that helped save Ivanna’s life.
That’s something Charles wishes he was able to do 22 years ago when he received a donor heart.
Charles never heard from the donor family and was only told the donor was 17 years old.
“It’s the gift of life. Who would not want to say ‘thank you?’”