The brother-in-law of the New York Department of Records commissioner, Brian Andersson recently had an emotional meeting with the mother of a young man whose heart is now beating inside his chest after a transplant last November. James O'Hea, whose sister, MaryAnn, is married to the very active Irish American Andersson, received the heart of 25-year-old Dennis Malloosseril on November 24. Malloosseril was shot and killed at St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church in Clifton, New Jersey the day before O'Hea's heart transplant. Malloosseril was trying to break up an argument between a fellow church member and her estranged husband. O'Hea, who has three grandparents from various parts of Ireland, met Malloosseril's family at a memorial service at the church where he was shot on Sunday, February 8. Four other donor recipients also attended the emotional service. That meeting took place a few weeks ago and, said O'Hea, was "very emotional." "I expected to meet the family but the mother and father both bent down to listen to my chest, to hear their son's heart," O'Hea shared. "There is not one word that can describe the feelings that ran through me during those moments," he said. "They are all just lovely people." O'Hea, of Woodbridge, New Jersey, told the Irish Voice on Tuesday that if it wasn't for Malloosseril's heart he would be dead. "If it hadn't been for this family donating Dennis' heart I wouldn't be here," he said. O'Hea, 57, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in July 2008. He was given medication and went back for regular checkups. On October 28, during a routine follow up visit, O'Hea was admitted to the hospital immediately. "I was blue, my blood was not circulating so they immediately admitted me," he said. His condition began to deteriorate and on November 18 O'Hea was put on a heart transplant list. He had no idea how long he would have to wait to get a new heart, but he was sure of something. "I wasn't going to make it past December," he said. O'Hea didn't have to wait until December. The morning of Monday, November 24, O'Hea received word that a potential match had been found. By 3 p.m. that afternoon, O'Hea was in the operating theater receiving a new heart. Although O'Hea or his family were not aware of the donor, Andersson, a genealogist, told the Irish Voice that he had a strong feeling his brother-in-law's new heart came from the young man who was shot the previous day. Anderson had seen the story of the shooting and read that Malloosseril's family was donating his organs. " I read that the young man's heart and lungs were being donated, and that same day we were told that they had a heart for James," said Anderson. "Bells and whistles were going off in my head," he said. And sure enough Andersson was right. In early December, the Sharing Network donor organization in New Jersey contacted O'Hea to inform him that it was in fact Malloosseril's heart beating in his chest. As a daily reminder of how lucky he is to be alive, O'Hea wears his hospital bracelet on his wrist and has a picture of Malloosseril in his living room. "I feel so good now. I have to remind myself I wouldn't be there without him," he said. O'Hea, who was unable to cross the street in October without stopping to let his heart catch up, is now back walking and feels great. He is now urging people to consider donating their organs when they pass. For more information on organ donating log onto http://www.sharenj.org
Where does the term “the luck of the Irish” come from?