Bill Conner found some comfort after losing his 20-year-old daughter Abbey knowing that her choice to be an organ donor saved lives.
In order to honor his Abbey’s life and legacy of giving, he decided that he would bike 2,600 miles.
His journey would take him from his home in Madison, Wisconson to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where her organs were donated to save another’s life.
Earlier this summer, Bill Conner, made a cross country bike ride in honor of his daughter, Abbey, who lost her life but…
“This is what she would want me to do,” Conner told CBS News. “If you had her as a friend she always had your back, and for her to be helping people in need — that fits who she is.”
Abbey decided to be an organ donor at the age of 16 when she got her driver’s license.
Bill Conner, father to Abigail Mae Conner, cycled more than 2,000 miles across the country to spread awareness about the…
When she passed away after sustaining a serious brain injury.
The family says Abbey and her brother were slipped drugs in the drinks they ordered within two hours of arriving at the Cancun resort.
They were both found unconscious face down in chest-deep water in a swimming pool. The family said Mexican authorities have not been helpful if finding justice for their children.
Abbey’s brother recovered but she never regained consciousness and sustained serious brain damage.
As a result, her heart was given to 21-year-old Loumonth Jack Jr.
Jack, who was from Lafayette, Louisiana, suffered from a heart attack due to a viral infection that was causing his heart to rapidly fail. He had been on a transplant list for months.
“He was given 10 days to live,” Conner said. “With Abbey and the way things went — he’s alive today.”
Abbey ended up donating four organs, including her eyes, which helped four men between the ages of 20 and 60 to live.
When Conner decided he wanted to do his ride, he contacted the Florida donation center and asked had them send letters to the recipients of Abbey’s organs to see if they were interested in meeting with him.
Jack responded and gave his contact information so that he and Conner could meet.
In partnership with Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency, Broward Health Medical Center recently hosted Donate Life Day,…
“He’s the perfect recipient for my daughter’s heart,” Conner told South Florida SunSentinel. “I wouldn’t want it any place else. He’s going to take care of her, and he’ll be in my family the rest of my life.”
Conner and Jack met in Baton Rouge on Father’s Day when Conner was 1,400 miles into his trip.
“She saved me and I can’t repay her. I wish I could but I can’t,” Jack told CBS affiliate WAFB in Baton Rouge. “All I can do is send my love to her family.”
Their meeting was an emotional one and started with a big hug.
Both men started to tear up when Conner pulled out a stethoscope so he could hear Abbey’s heart beating inside of Jack.
“Knowing he’s alive because of Abbey, Abbey is alive inside of him — it’s her heart having him stand up straight,” Conner said. “I was happy for him and his family, and at the same time, I got to reunite with my daughter.”
Conner ended up biking through heat, Tropical Storm Cindy, and exhaustion to bring awareness to the importance of organ donation.
He left on May 22 with a bag of his daughter’s ashes tied to his handlebar so he could scatter some in the sea.
The back of his bike carried a sign “Abbey’s Ride for Life.”
He would often spend nights in comped hotel rooms or in homes of strangers who were inspired by his story.
More than 300 people were at the medical center to greet Conner at the end of his 2,600-mile journey on July 11.
He hopes that his ride and the talks he had with people along the way will encourage people to become organ donors. Learn more about this story in the video below.
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This is such a touching story. pic.twitter.com/OAlhIxP14D
— Raza Ahmad Rumi (@Razarumi) July 15, 2020