“Can you hear her heart beat?” Lital asked Keren Dee, the daughter of Lucy Dee who was killed in a terror attack last month. “Yes,” Keren replied and started crying.
Jewish News UK was at the scene during a highly emotional meeting on Tuesday at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikwa where the Dee family met for the first time the donor patients who each received organs from the late Lucy Dee.
Both surviving daughters, Keren and Tali, listened to 51-year-old Lital Valenci’s heart beat through a stethoscope.
“Listening to my mother’s heartbeat made me feel like I am with her. It was moving meeting Lital and all the recipients, we have lost so much but are comforted that so many families were saved from similar pain,” said Keren.
“Nobody can understand what it is like losing a mother and two sisters at once and to hear my mother’s heartbeat was comforting,” added Tali.
Rabbi Leo Dee said he had been “in tears” all morning in anticipation of the meeting with the patients, but that seeing them all made him feel happy again. “You saved my life. Thank you so much,” Lital told the family.
Valenci, 51, who suffered from severe heart failure for five years, waited eight agonising months for a new heart, with doctors warning she had months to live without a transplant. But Lucy Dee’s heart eventually saved her.
“I actually thought I was going to burst into tears when I saw you,” Rabbi Dee told Lital. “And I didn’t. I felt joy. So thank you for bringing us back up.”
The doctors who had participated in three patients’ organ transplants also described how emotional and extraordinary the situation had been for them.
WATCH: “Can you hear her heart beat?” Lital asked Keren Dee, the daughter of Lucy Dee who was killed in a terror attack last month. “Yes,” Keren replied and started crying. Lital received her mother's heart just three weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/5TwSSKS1ut
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“There was not a dry eye in the room as Keren and Tali raised their hands to Lital’s chest to hear their mother’s heartbeat,” said Prof. Dan Aravot, Beilinson Hospital’s Director of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery.
“We often talk about the physical recovery after a transplant but there is an emotional component that comes with it, and it was very important to Lital to meet the Dee family and share her condolences with them and how appreciative she is to have the gift of life and watch her children grow up because of Lucy Dee,” added Prof. Aravot, who performed the heart transplant and has been overseeing Valenci’s recovery.
25-year-old Daniel Geresh, who received a liver transplant from Lucy after she was killed, also came to thank the family at the hospital.
“Daniel was very sick. If he hadn’t received the transplant, his situation would’ve continued to deteriorate. Your actions simply saved him. Your courage as a family is admirable. It moved us all,” Dr. Eviatar Nesher told the Dee family.
Daniel’s mother told Rabbi Dee that she would forever be grateful for the family’s decision to donate Lucy’s liver to her son, and that she would never forget that they made him “smile again after so long”.
One of Lucy Dee’s kidneys also helped save a 38-year-old Arab-Israeli man, Ahmad Suliman, who couldn’t participate in today’s meeting.
When it was announced that Suliman was the recipient of Lucy’s kidney, Rabbe Leo said: “I think that is significant to us because Lucy was very much into peaceful relations with our neighbours and I think she would have been very proud that she saved the life of an Arab.”
Jewish News UK