Travis Stufflebean received Monica and Dean Berckenhoff's son's heart seven years ago, which saved his life

By Ashley Boucher
July 25, 2019 09:09 PM
Couple listens to late son's heartbeat 
WWNYTV

A Texas couple received a very heartfelt gift on their wedding day.

Travis Stufflebean, 28, surprised Monica and Dean Berckenhoff at their wedding, bringing a little piece of their late son with him.

Colton, the oldest of the couple’s three children, died suddenly back in 2012 when he was only 11 years old. His heart was donated to Stufflebean, who has been battling heart problems his whole life, he said, according to New York station WWNYTV.

“All through my life, I’ve dealt with open heart surgery and I’ve had five and Colton was the sixth one,” he said. He was 20 years old when he received Colton’s heart, which saved his life.

Stufflebean and the Berckenhoffs had never met until their wedding day — but it’s something that all parties involved have wanted for a long time.

“It’s been seven years, and it’s something we’ve always wanted,” Monica said. “I don’t think there [are] any words.”

Monica’s sister, Amanda, orchestrated the touching surprise, which took place mid-ceremony in front of the wedding guests.

“My sister is my best friend,” Amanda said.

“Colton’s not here, physically, but he’s here,” Dean said after the couple were able to listen to Colton’s heart through a stethoscope.

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The emotional moment was also fulfilling to Stufflebean, who said that he’s just borrowing Colton’s heart and happy to reunite the family for such a special moment.

“Because you’re bringing the heart back home,” he said. “To me, this is just a temporary heart. I’m just borrowing it.”

“To me this is where it belongs, with this wonderful and awesome family,” he added.

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