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Independence teen's heart saves life of 9-year-old Texas girl

Posted at 9:10 PM, Aug 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 09:54:23-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Parents who have suffered the death of their child often call it the worst imaginable grief. An Independence couple is finding comfort in their son's death because they decided to donate the gift of life.

15-year-old Brian Motelet died August 5 from a condition he suffered from childhood, Encephalitis. He had a seizure and was pronounced brain dead. Brian's parent's Eula and Bret Motelet decided to donate Brian's organs. Five organs were donated including both of his kidneys, his pancreas, his liver and his heart.

"When we made that decision, everything changed," said Bret Motelet.

"Yes we are still grieving and I'm sad that my son is gone but, at the same, there's pieces of him still left here and he saved lives and that's beautiful," said Bret Motelet.

The transplant team only gave Brian's family a few details about the organ recipients, but Eula and Bret wanted to know who received his heart. So two days after Brian's organs were donated, Bret started his own investigation. 

"I Googled '9-year-old girl from the south heart transplant' and we found ourselves looking at the Facebook profile of her mother," said Bret Motelet.

The surgery date and time matched. Bret and Eula found their son's heart in Belle near Longview, Texas. A video was posted to Facebook of Belle's mother Kaycee Kelm, showing the moment she learned her daughter was getting a new heart. 

A national group called, Pink Heals, organized the fundraiser in Texas for Belle. Pink Heals groups across the country reach out to support families dealing with debilitating and terminal illnesses. The Longview, Texas, Pink Heals group was helping Belle raise money for medical bills.

Details about Belle's good news helped the Motelet family in Independence connect the dots to realize they found their son's heart.

Jeff Vaughn is the President of Johnson County Pink Heals. They are a group of people who want to help families dealing with serious health problems.

"Pink is here for the color of love. We're here to support women and their families suffering from all these diseases and we're here to show love," said Vaughn.

The Johnson County Pink Heals group along with the national founder of Pink Heals, Dave Grabel, visited the Motelet family on Wednesday to thank them and offer hugs and handshakes. Team members called Brian a hero for saving lives. 

Brian's father agreed.

"My son is a hero, and I'm proud of him," said Bret Motelet.

The Motelet's said they are raising money on a GoFundMe page to get a headstone for Brian's grave. They are also having a private family memorial and celebration of Brian's life on Sunday.

Kelm, Belle's mom, said she is grateful, thankful that she is connected with her daughter's donor's family and she plans to meet them in person as soon as Belle is strong enough so they can say thank you in person.

"Thanks to Brian's heart, my daughter is doing great and improving dramatically — amazing doctors. On Thursday, she will be moved out of Children's Hospital in Dallas and moved into a rehab facility. If all goes well, Belle could be home in September," said Kelm.

Motelet's family is encouraging other parents facing a similar situation, that donating their child's organs will help save lives and help ease their pain and grief. The Midwest Transplant Network coordinated Brian's organ donation.