Indianapolis police Officer David Moore was killed in the line of duty in January, but a big part of him lives on inside Brenda Biggs.
Biggs was one of seven people who received organ donations from Moore, whose father, retired Lt. Spencer Moore, and mother, Sgt. Jo Moore, got some solace during the dark days that followed their son's death, knowing that his vital organs would be put to good use.
Biggs was dying, but she's thriving now thanks to the gift from Moore and his family, RTV6's Stacia Matthews
There were wide smiles and plenty of tears shed when Biggs, Jo Moore and Dr. David Hormuth, the transplant surgeon who performed the procedure, reunited to reflect on the officer's legacy and the gift of life he gave to others.
Biggs went to the hospital for a routine checkup, never expecting it would be four months before she left.
"They said, 'I think we found you a heart,' and I went, 'What?'" she recalled. "We all started crying."
In the grieving period immediately after Moore's death, his mother remarked tearfully that someone would "get a darn good heart." Nine months later, there's no doubt Biggs is living proof of that.
"Why should David's heart go to the grave and do no one any good?" Moore said. "That makes absolutely no sense to our family."
"I thank God every night for it. I feel I will always be protected. I feel that he's there with me," Biggs said.
Biggs didn't know where the heart came from until months after the surgery. Friends and family members had saved news clippings of the Moore story.
Jo Moore and Biggs first met in July, but Moore hadn't met Hormuth until RTV6 helped arrange it. The meeting was emotional for all involved.
"You got my son's heart, and it just took off," Moore said.
"Yeah, it took off once we got blood into it like it was supposed to," Hormuth said as he tried to hold back tears.
At her Michigan City home, Biggs shared a treasured letter written to her by Jo Moore.
"My son David passed away. It brings me comfort to know that in his death, he still cared to serve others," part of the letter read. "Whenever you would like to meet, it would be our honor. If not, that's fine with us."
"I was nervous about meeting her at first because I didn't know anything about her," Biggs said. "I didn't know how she would feel about me."
Moore and Biggs were fast friends.
"The first time we meet, Brenda was so gracious. She said, 'Do you want to feel David's heart?'" Moore said. "I'll never forget this, and I said, 'It's yours.'"
It's not common for heart transplant recipients to meet the family of the donor, said Hormuth, who has taken part in more than 500 transplants. The outcome of this transplant is rare and something to celebrate.
"(David Moore) seemed like a great guy, an all-American kid, the kid
who would do anything for you, and he did," Hormuth said.
David Moore spent six years as a North District officer. Now, a memorial hangs in the lobby, near a door.
"We strive to be no less than Moore, so we make sure each officer touches David on their way out," said Capt. Phil Burton.
The touch reaches back to a life sacrificed to a present connection and to a future made possible by "a darn good heart."
Jo Moore has met two of the seven people who received donated organs from her son.
Indiana Residents, Register Your Personal Donation Decision
David S. Moore Foundation
Donate Life Indiana
Indiana Organ Procurement Organization
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