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Loss & Rebirth: A local man's death breathes new life into heart recipient

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SALEM, Va. (WSET) -- "Nineteen months ago, Lucas committed suicide at the beginning of July," said Melinda Dillon.

Her son, Lucas, 21, also known as Lukie, struggled with mental illness before taking his own life.

"He was full of life, had thousands of friends, and just those anxieties and things tend to hide behind the house," she said.

LifeNet approached his family at the hospital about the organ donation he signed up for when he received his drivers license.

According to his mother, that was how his family learned his heart, two corneas and two kidneys would be used.

Dave Soto was on a waiting list for a heart transplant. He was in the grocery store when he got the news.

"I was buying a Hershey bar, and I got a call from Virginia. At that moment, my whole life changed," Soto said.

The Dillons met Soto in Richmond a few months ago. It was there they listened to Lukie's heart.

"Once we met, the air was so clear, it was like we bonded right away," Soto mentioned, describing how he immediately bonded with the family.

There are thousands of people, and more than 2,400 in Virginia, waiting for organ donors.

The Dillons are now raising awareness, sharing Lukie's life as an example.

"He led by a good example at times. To this day, and in the future, that's something i will always carry with me," said Lukie's bother, Levi.

You can find more on organ donations here.

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