The joy of a heart's desire - why organ donation is a wonderful gesture
By Richard Noone: The Daily Telegraph - Australia
IT seemed too real to be mere coincidence - and it brought joy to Kaden Delaney's family.
Kaden's parents Greg and Shelley spent two years finding David Waters, whose life was saved when he received their son's heart after he died in a car crash. But in an exchange of emails they learned Mr Waters amazingly had developed a taste for Burger Rings - which was Kaden's favorite snack treat.
The Delaney's second eldest son was left brain dead after rolling his brother's car into an embankment near their home in Orange, in the state's Central West, in April 2006. In line with his wishes, they donated the 17-year-old's heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and kidneys.
Two years and countless key internet word searches later Mrs Delaney tracked down Mr Waters, the recipient of Kaden's heart.
The 24-year-old from Adelaide suffered a stiffening of the heart ventricles and had months to live.
When they began email contact Mr Waters asked: "Did Kaden like Burger Rings? That's all I seemed to want to eat after my surgery."
Mrs Delaney responded: "I have been informed by a reliable source - Talby, (Kaden's brother) that Kaden loved Burger Rings."
Mr Waters replied: "I certainly think I have got some traits from him, Burger Rings right after the op, I never used to eat them before."
The theory the brain is not the only organ to store memories or personality traits and memory as a process can form in other parts of the body such as the heart has been coined "cellular memory".
The most famous reported case was American Claire Sylvia, a heart-lung transplant recipient, who documented her sudden craving for beer, chicken nuggets and green peppers in a best-selling memoir after discovering her donor was an 18-year-old male who died in a motorcycle accident.
Westmead Millennium Institute professor and president of the International Transplantation Society Jeremy Chapman said the phenomenon had not been proven.
"There is no scientific basis of such a claim," he said. "There's so much fiction around transplants."
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