Father’s Bewildering Response To Losing Two Children Leaves His Family In Tears

You can’t protect your children from everything. Jordan Spahn found that out in the hardest way imaginable. The Houston father poured his heart and soul into his family, but even that wasn’t enough to shield them from the cruel nature of the world.

After a series of personal catastrophes sent him reeling, Jordan found himself on the verge of despair. However, one unexpected meeting with a complete stranger in 2020 showed him that there was still meaning in the world. All it took was one faint sound.

If you asked Jordan Spahn about his proudest accomplishment, he would have gone on and on about the joys of becoming a father. His boys, Jonah and Matthew, were his entire life. Jordan couldn’t wait to see what their future held.

Jordan Spahn / Facebook

Matthew in particular was emerging as a shining star. Despite being the kid brother, he discovered an impressive talent in his teens, which set him on the road to success for college and beyond.

Anytime you blinked, you could’ve missed Matthew sprinting past you. He racked up a number of medals in track and cross country events, giving him an air of invincibility. Tragically, Matthew came to grips with his mortality all too soon.

Summer Spahn / YouTube

Matthew decided to go out for a run one night in 2018. Visibility was poor, but he wasn’t going to let adverse conditions get in the way of his training. The last thing he saw was a pair of lights whipping around a bend.

Hours later, the Spahn family awoke to devastating news. The 21-year-old champ was run over by a car, and his life was hanging on by a thread. Aside from multiple fractures and massive blood loss, Matthew’s swollen brain had doctors seriously worried.

US Air Force

Jordan told his girlfriend Summer that maybe his son could pull through. “From the day he came into this world, he has been defying all laws and critics with this tremendous no quit attitude,” he said. Eleven days later, Matthew’s fate was clear.

Summer MJ Mossbarger / Facebook

With virtually no brain function left, the star runner didn’t make it. The Spahn family could barely process the loss at first, though they were also puzzled by the entire hospital staff standing at attention as they moved Matthew’s body.

Baylor Scott & White

It turned out that was a regular hospital protocol to honor organ donors like Matthew. Knowing that he could very well save several other lives, the medical staff wanted to thank the Spahn family for his thoughtfulness.

Their grief was unimaginable, but the Spahns stood strong. Matthew’s older brother Jonah got a tattoo to commemorate his sibling’s bravery in life and in death. Sadly, Jordan and his kids weren’t out of the woods yet.

Jonah Spahn / Facebook

Just a year later, a gruesome coincidence occurred. Many people believe that lightning never strikes twice, but that didn’t stop an eerily similar fate from befalling another one of Jordan’s children.

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Just past midnight, Maria Villarreal was driving home in the rain. She squinted at the stoplights along the highway, which were clear enough, but she didn’t noticed the silhouette standing in her lane until it was too late.

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This time, Jonah was the victim. The Spahns had no idea what he was doing out on the road in the middle of the night. His case resembled Matthew’s in just about every way but one — Jonah was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

Cody Blowers / St. George News

Understandably, Jordan was a wreck. His two biggest sources of joy were snuffed out, neither making it past their 25th birthdays. The father consoled himself with the thought of the brothers being together again, but deep down, he needed more than that.

Jonah Spahn / Facebook

After the passing of another year, Jordan got it. He was a little bit confused when Summer told him that she’d set up a meeting at a local pizza restaurant. Apparently, they’d be sitting down with some woman named Kristi Russ.

Duncan Rawlinson / Flickr

Jordan never met her before, but Kristi explained that they were connected through one extraordinary bond. Relating to the Spahn’s losses, she revealed that she faced a medical fiasco of her own a couple years back.

Kristi suffered from a failing heart and would have died without a transplant. Fortunately for her, one became available in just the nick of time. And she had the Spahn family’s generosity to thank for that.

Global Panorama / Flickr

She was living and breathing all because of Matthew’s heart! That revelation, along with the fact that his organs saved four other lives, shocked Jordan and Summer. Kristi then gave the father a final chance to commune with his younger son.

Pulling out a stethoscope, Kristi told Jordan to listen to Matthew’s heartbeat inside of her. “It’s so strong,” Jordan exclaimed, trembling and holding back tears. “It’s almost like getting to see Matthew again.”

KHOU

That meeting couldn’t wipe away the Spahn family’s pain, but it showed Matthew and Jonah were able to do some good in their final moments. Summer shared the encounter online with the message, “If you aren’t a organ donor I ask that you consider the gift of life.”

Jordan Spahn / Facebook

Brooke Eaton learned all about that gift. The single mom lived a humble life in Peoria, Illinois, with her two young kids, Cazmirr and Cierra. Her two kiddos were the focal point of her life — but, sadly, they would only be a trio for so long.

Dignity Memorial

Little Cazmirr, AKA “Cash” or “Bubby,” may as well have been the happiest little two-year-old boy in the world. The blonde, train-loving angel didn’t know the meaning of the word “shy.” He was always on a mission to make new friends with a smile plastered on his face.

Dignity Memorial

“He was full of life. He wanted to travel the world. On his tricycle. In a day,” Brooke told the Woodford Times. Sadly, little Cash would never get to travel the globe on his trike.

Dignity Memorial

During a visit to grandma and grandpa’s East Peoria house, Cash wound up leaping in the property’s swimming pool. Though the family did all they could to rescue him while he flailed in the water, their efforts were made too late. It was a scene that haunts every parent’s nightmares.

When the paramedics arrived, Cash wasn’t breathing. They immediately rushed him to a medical center, but ultimately, after several days on life support, Brooke had no choice but to let her dear boy go. But she didn’t want her only son to pass for no reason…

Dignity Memorial

Brooke met with representatives from the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Network to discuss the idea of donating Cash’s organs. “I know that he was a very sharing boy and a very loving boy,” Brooke said of her deceased child.

Chicago Crusader

“He loved to play with other kids, and (he was) very outgoing. I know this is something he would want to have done,” she continued. Cash’s organs were donated to at least four recipients, one being a 16-month-old girl who was in desperate need of a heart transplant.

Dignity Memorial

Media relations coordinator for Gift of Hope Shauna Schuda sent an email detailing the condition of Akeley, Minnesota’s Lola Bond, who would receive Cazmirr Lander’s heart. In August of 2018, she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy.

Illinois Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations

Cardiomyopathy, which is also referred to as heart muscle disease, enlarges the heart and makes it difficult to pump blood throughout the rest of the body. Considering Lola was just an infant, her heart was too big for her tiny body.

Journal Star

When Lola’s grandmother, Margaret Bond Vorel, was gifted with the news of a heart transplant match for her sweet granddaughter, she admitted to having mixed emotions. Understandably, it was a lot for her to take in.

Dignity Memorial

“I was overwhelmed with grief for the family that had to lose their little one to provide a heart. I was very relieved that (a heart) was found, and we were going to be able to keep (Lola),” Margaret explained. There were a medley of emotions brewing.

Dignity Memorial

Lola successfully received Cash’s miracle heart on September 4, 2018. But it wasn’t until September of 2019 that Brooke went to visit Lola for the very first time, indirectly being reunited with her late son.

After Margaret expressed her undying gratitude for Brooke’s difficult deed, Brooke decided meeting Lola would be a gratifying experience. The Illinois mother, along with her 4-year-old daughter, Cierra, trekked it to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, where Lola was a patient.

Kraus-Anderson

When Brooke first laid her eyes on sweet Lola, who donned purple glasses and a pink, frilly dress, she was hit with emotion. “As soon as I walked in the room, it was very overwhelming,” she told CNN. Tears of joy, pain, and motherly love streamed down her cheeks.

Star Tribune

“I saw her, and I just broke down and cried … I could feel my son. His heartbeat was so pure.” Brooke held baby Lola in her lap, who played with a plush toy, put on a stethoscope, and gingerly listened to Cash’s heart thump inside Lola’s chest.

WCCO

It soon became apparent that the tender moment would lead to a long-term relationship between Brooke, Margaret, and little Lola. After that sentimental day at the hospital, Brooke and Margaret began speaking on the phone and over video chat daily.

Star Tribune

“There’s that connection with her, because without her great gift, Lola wouldn’t be here. In some way, it almost feels like Cash can continue on his journey with Lola,” Margaret said.

Albeit Lola will need to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of her life, the transplanted heart was thriving inside Lola. It was a match made in heaven (literally). Margaret set up a Facebook page, called “Lola’s Rockstars,” to record her granddaughter’s medical progress.

Star Tribune

“People need to talk to their families about organ donation. Or you can donate blood when you have the opportunity, or save a life by donating bone marrow. There are a thousand ways to help,” Margaret relayed. After learning of this touching story, her words speak volumes.

KSTP TV

While making the decision do donate Cazmirr’s organs was an emotionally taxing one for Brooke Eaton, being on a never-ending wait list for a suitable organ may just be even more stressful. Choices like hers save lives.

Dignity Memorial

Lives of those like James Beeching, 36, of Hastings, East Sussex, who loved to share adorable photos of his twin toddlers, Isobel and Logan, on social media. His friends and family knew to check James’ feed for hilarious updates about his cheeky little ones.

Daily Mail

James’ friends also knew that despite his silly sense of humor and posts about his kids, he was battling a serious illness. He had cystic fibrosis, a disease in which the lungs become clogged with sticky mucus.

CTV News

But, the realities of his illness didn’t crush James’ spirit. Having been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of two, he’d long since adjusted to daily physiotherapy and taking enzymes with meals to aid digestion. His illness didn’t stop James from enjoying a relatively normal, fulfilling life…

James Beeching / Facebook

He built a career in public service as a community organizer and married his sweetheart, Becky. Together, they started a family; a pair of cute twins, a boy and girl, brought them so much joy.

Daily Mail

But just when his life was more full of purpose than ever, his health reached a critical point: James’ body couldn’t fight off infections as well as it used to. Hospital stays increased, and his lung function continued to decline.

Daily Mail

In January 2017, James’ lung function was so poor that doctors took drastic measures. He was assessed for a lung transplant and ultimately added to the waiting list. At any moment, the phone could ring to announce new lungs were on the way.

James Beeching / Facebook

Making the list was a start, but receiving a donor match could take months. While waiting for news — and staring down his potential demise — he made a responsible, but an emotionally wrought decision for his children.

James Beeching / Facebook

James recorded videos for his twins in case he succumbed to his sickness. He hoped against hope that his twins never had to see the tapes, but he knew if he did pass, he had personal things to share with them both and this was the best way to do it.

James worried that his twins would be too young to process the situation, or even remember him entirely. His videos would be a physical reminder that their father existed and that he fought with every ounce of his strength to stay and be their dad.

James Beeching / Facebook

Soon, James’ health declined to the point where he was in the hospital all the time. He’d adjust to life at home for a few weeks, then be rushed back for intravenous antibiotics. In April 2018, he contracted a serious infection. He feared that he would die while waiting for a transplant.

James Beeching / Facebook

Growing sicker by the moment, a glimmer of hope emerged. The phone rang at last! A pair of lungs from a potential donor had just become available! James had to act quickly to prepare for surgery.

One day before the lung donor call came through, James had been admitted to London’s Royal Brompton Hospital. The potential donor was an hour away, at the Harefield Hospital in Hillingdon, a world-renowned heart and lung transplant facility. James was rushed over on the spot.

Hidden London

But in the end, the donor’s lungs were unsuitable. James took the blow gracefully. He knew that this process wasn’t simple. “False alarms do happen,” he said, “so while it was emotional, it didn’t shock me.”

James left the hospital that day feeling strangely inspired to keep fighting. He made a video on Facebook, thanking his supporters. He knew without their support, he would find it hard to keep fighting.

He also took the opportunity to remind people of the importance of becoming an organ donor. He hoped his words would have an impact, since they were coming from a hopeful recipient, after all!

James Beeching / Facebook

Two months after the first, a second possible donor came through and it all started again: Rush to hospital. Wait for answers. Repeat. These lungs were also not suitable. James continued making videos for his kids — they seemed so much more important now…

Less than 24 hours later, the phone rang a third time. Again, the lungs couldn’t be processed. Exhausted, James and his family didn’t know how much more they could take.

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“Life became more difficult and my body was really struggling,” he said. “I was needing more and more oxygen and generally finding it hard to keep up.” James spent most of his summer out of the hospital. His body grew more feeble, but he felt glad to be home, making the most of each day with his children.

When the phone rang again about a donor just a couple months later, he kept realistic expectations. Then, they told him to shower and prep for surgery: the transplant was full steam ahead!

James Beeching / Facebook

The struggles of the past year melted away in mere hours. Surgery went off without a hitch! James’ body accepted the donor’s lungs. He could take a well deserved first breath of relief.

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Five weeks after surgery, James returned home to his family. Other than a few minor complications, his recovery was smooth. He said, “It’s almost like when you buy a second-hand car – at first, every little noise makes you nervous, but you do get more used to it as time goes on.”

James Beeching / Facebook

The online community following James’ story was thrilled. Besides his gratitude to all the supportive family and friends, he wanted to take a special moment to acknowledge one other person: the selfless donor who saved his life.

Just Giving

“There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about my donor and their family,” James said. He never intended to place pressure on those who felt uncomfortable with organ donation to make that choice. But, if he could sway one person to take a leap and register, he could pay it forward.

The New York Times

Because of his donor’s gift, James was able to destroy the tapes he made for his children. Neither he nor they would ever have to worry about losing him again.

Pearl Lucia Barcoe / Flickr

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