Young couple finds love through heart transplants


Linda Thibodeaux and Jordan Merecka like watching alligator shows, and they like to cook.

Linda said, "I do things my way and he does things his way, but somehow we seem work together."

And they both have ... new hearts.

Jordan said, "She got her transplant May 11 and I got Syncardia May 22."

Their romance began when in a hospital. They were waiting for heart transplants at the same time. When a heart became available last May, it matched Linda. To keep Jordan alive, Texas Children's surgeons gave him the new artificial heart.

It made national news. Jordan's face was on a JumboTron in Times Square. But it was hard. At 18, living on a mechanical heart, still waiting for a heart transplant.

Linda Thibodeaux understood. This was her second heart transplant.

"Our physical therapists and our nurses thought we should meet," Jordan explained,

Jordan came to visit, dragging the 400 pound console that ran the artificial heart.

He sad, "They brought Linda out of her room and her mask and everything and I was on big blue in the hallway. And I'm not going to lie -- it was kind of an awkward meeting at first."

"I don't think we really knew what to think yet," Linda said.

But they had so much in common.

"I'd never met anyone my age who was going through pretty much the same exact thing," Linda said.

"It was really nice to have someone to talk to who understood what I was going through," said Jordan.

Linda added, "Its a connection you can't really have with anyone else."

Linda was the hospital for the five months Jordan was on the artificial heart.

He said, "There was hope I could live a normal life like she was doing."

He was near death in October, when they found a donor heart.

Linda said, "I felt like myself getting a whole new heart again, but it was him and it was a beautiful moment."

As Jordan and Linda recovered, their friendship grew into a romance.

"Seems like we've come so far and both doing amazing," Linda said. "It's wonderful."

"You're never probably ever going to find someone else who knows what you've been through and relate to it like she can," Jordan explained.

Today, they are healthy and looking out for each other.

"We remind each other to take our meds," Linda laughed.

And they're signing up organ donors.

Linda said, "I wouldn't be here without someone donating their heart and it's such a selfless act."

It's been almost a year since Linda and Jordan wished for a new heart. Now they have their wish, and they given their new hearts, to each other.

Jordan will begin a subsea engineering program this fall, and Linda is leaning toward dentistry in her future.

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