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Families joined by 2007 heart donation

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm •  Published: February 23, 2013

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Antoinette Holloway said she never got the chance to meet her special valentine.

"But I have his heart," she said.

Holloway, who goes by Anne, not only is a miracle medical technology. She is a living testimony to a 21-year-old Cedar Falls man's natural propensity for giving.

For the first time since August of 2007 when Holloway received the heart of Jeremy Lee Coonradt, she got to meet her special valentine's family during a dinner last week at The Dedicated Few Christian Church in Rock Island.

"This has been a long time coming," said Jeremy's father, Todd Rowell, 44, of Waterloo.

The Quad-City Times reports ( ) The two had tried to meet before, but each time, Rowell's emotions got the better of him.

"I don't know how to explain it," Rowell said through tears. "I'm just glad we go to meet and thankful I can be a part of her life now. She never gave up on me."

As Holloway's aunt, Ernestine Craig, of Davenport, said, "These things take time. The right time had to come, and this is it."

Holloway had a heart attack at the age of 42 in June 2006. That was when the doctors told her she had been born without a main artery to the heart.

"Nobody discovered it until I had my heart attack," she said. "I played basketball, baseball, ran track."

She was recommended for a heart transplant in 2007 and was placed on the transplant list at University Hospitals, Iowa City, in July of that year. Merely a month later, a heart was available.

It belonged to Jeremy Coonradt, who had signed a donor card.

"I can't stress enough the importance of organ donation," Rowell said. "Not only does Jeremy live on, but he helped to save a beautiful life."

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