St. Charles County child celebrating Valentine's Day with new he - KMOV.com

St. Charles County child celebrating Valentine's Day with new heart

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Zachary Broeker received his heart transplant in October 2016. (Credit: Family photo) Zachary Broeker received his heart transplant in October 2016. (Credit: Family photo)
The Broeker family hopes their child's story inspires others to become organ donors. (Credit: Family photo) The Broeker family hopes their child's story inspires others to become organ donors. (Credit: Family photo)

WEST ALTON (KMOV.com) – Meet Zachary Broeker. He's a laughing, smiling baby who loves to play with his older brothers. However, he's gone through more in his 14 months of life than most adults.

Zachary was born with five congenital heart defects. Last summer, his doctors at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital put him on the transplant list. In October, his parents got the phone call they were waiting for. There was a heart.

“For us, it was very hard because how does one pray for a heart knowing that another family has to lose their baby?” said Amanda Broeker, the child’s mother.

Five months later, the one-year-old is thriving with his new heart. He is under a six month quarantine, but he gets to spend his days with his family, something his mother says would never have been possible without his donor.

“I truly thank God every day for his donor family, without them none of these things would be possible” said Broeker.

Zachary is learning to crawl, he is growing and his mother says she can’t wait for him to start talking, things she thought she might never get to experience.

That’s why on National Donor Day, she is advocating for everyone to become a donor.

She and other families are also looking to change policy. They would like an opt-out system which would automatically make people a donor unless they specifically choose not to be. There is a petition on change.org about it.

“There’s nothing you’re going to be able to use when you’re gone so why not bless someone else’s life with that great gift?” asked Broeker.

And on this Valentine’s Day, the gift of a new heart is the greatest one of all.

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