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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

Rowell said that in addition to the heart he gave Holloway, Jeremy's eyes were donated to help another see, and his skin was donated for skin grafts for burn victims.

"People need to sign those donor cards," Rowell said. "It's so important to be an organ donor.

"I have a larger family because of it."

Holloway's brother, Levi Moore of Davenport, was at the event with his fiancée, Joyce.

"It's a feeling of joy to meet family of the man whose heart is keeping my sister alive," Moore said. "We are so blessed."

But they also ache for Jeremy's family, Moore said. "For his family to have to suffer the heart break of letting him go, and then for them to give us this. Jeremy lives on."

Holloway had to fight through the heart attack and then through the transplant. She also had to make changes to her lifestyle in terms of eating and exercise.

"She's gone through a lot, but she's a tough cookie," Craig said. "She's a fighter. You can't keep her down."

Rowell and Holloway sat next to one another during dinner. They ate, they hugged, and they cried together.

The two have kept in touch via email and Facebook, and now that the families have met, both said they plan to be as one family always.

"I was able to sleep all week long, except last night," Holloway said. "I couldn't wait for tomorrow."

Michael Harkrider, 28, Jeremy's brother, said he is thankful the families have come together.

"It's a real miracle to see someone able to live their life through our family," Harkrider said. "We're one family now."