SPRING GREEN (WKOW) -- A tragic accident brings new life and blurs the lines between two families.
Corinne "Cori" McBride, 15, of Pardeeville was a stickler about wearing her helmet while riding her ATV, her family said. There was one time during a ride last July when she didn't though. Cori died of brain injuries after the accident that day. It was on her father's birthday.
"I now have a birthday angel watching over me," said Sam McBride, Cori's father. "She's one of a kind. She was a spit fire. She was unforgettable."
"She loved helping other people, I mean. She was just amazing," said Becky McBride, Cori's mother.
"She just brightened everybody's day," added Amanda Dicken, Cori's sister.
Cori made sure she would continue brightening people's days even if something bad happened to her. Not long before her accident, she told her parents she was becoming an organ donor.
"Who would think at 15, you want to be an organ donor then? It's just amazing," said Becky.
Who it was really amazing for was Rich Heath. At 50-years-old, his heart was failing him, but Cori's heart still had much more to give. "I was really sick, a lot sicker than I knew," said Rich. "7-17-17 was when my heart was installed... I didn't feel worthy of this. I mean this is really big....really, really big, and it's just like why me?"
The reason why was likely because that's what Cori would have wanted. This way her family got to hear her heart still beating for them. Thanks to a stethoscope that's exactly what they did. "I was at a loss for words. I was just in shock that this heartbeat I'm listening to was my baby girl's," said Becky.
"It's just like this is supposed to happen, wasn't it?" said Rich.
The timing wasn't the only serendipitous thing about the organ donation. Rich loves the outdoors; so did Cori. They both wore the same number jersey in high school basketball, and Rich also lost his brother in an ATV accident.
"This is all happening for a reason and somebody way bigger than all of us is controlling this," said Rich. "This is not about me. This whole thing is really not about me. It's about Cori and the donation and how big her heart was."
Cori's liver, pancreas and kidneys went to other recipients in the Midwest, her family said. They are hopeful to meet more of the recipients. If you would like to learn more about organ donation click here.