Candace Monroe celebrated the 15 year anniversary of the day she got a second chance at life. She was just 15 in February of 2002 when she received a heart transplant at the Cleveland Clinic.

Monroe was suffering from Cardiopulmonary — a disease that took her sister’s life this past fall.

“I can truly say I did have hope that someone would give me the greatest gift of life and they did,” said Monroe.

Monroe received the heart of a 15-year-old girl named Alicia Roberts.

“She was full of life. She really enjoyed life and making people laugh. If she could make you laugh and lose control that would be her thing to do,” said Roberts.

It took years to finally meet Alicia’s dad, but that reunion took place three years ago, and Chuck Roberts and Candace Monroe have been great friends ever since.

Monroe even let Roberts listen to hear heart beat.

“It was pretty unbelievable. A lot of emotion,” described Roberts.

Fast forward three years later, and Roberts, who now lives in Hawaii thought it would only be fitting to surprise Candace for this huge milestone.

“It was such an amazing feeling. He came all the way from Hawaii to celebrate this milestone, and I know it is painful for him. He did lose someone. At the same time I am happy that he has found some peace knowing that he saved a life,” said Monroe.

Chuck still thinks about his daughter all the time, but said it helps to know Alicia’s heart beats on in a woman who is living life to the fullest.

“It brings it full circle that it’s all worthwhile,” said Roberts.

Go to lifebanc.org for more information on organ donation.

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