Families Bound By Fate Heart-Walk Together

Two families already bound together took time to share at Saturday's American Heart Walk.

It was just last April when Zach Browne was killed in a 4-wheeler accident. Zach, just twelve, had already told his parents he wanted to be an organ donor.

Chris Roberts admits, "If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be alive."

Zach's heart went to Charis, who had almost complete blockage of her heart after a heart attack at age sixteen. After the transplant, the two families began to bond.

Charis's mother Robin Rutkowski started the relationship. "I wrote to them and they wrote back. It was an immediate connection."

"Then we couldn't stop writing," Zach's mother Kay Browne adds.

Zach's father, Tim Browne, explains the connection. "Through our hope and sorrow and grief, they've shared it with us. Even though they're triumphant in getting a second chance at life, they still feel for us also.

"Words can't express the gratefulness that I feel," Robin says. "And because I'm a mom, I can put myself in her shoes from the very beginning."

They walked today as one, so others could hear their story.

"Both the people involved were so young, it's a story that grabs peoples attention," Robin says. "Hopefully, this will consider people to consider organ donation so that other people can live."

An estimated five hundred people came out for the American Heart Walk, raising money for heart disease research. Organizers expect the walk to raise over twenty thousand dollars locally.

Reid Kerr reporting.