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There’s a tradition in Latin American families that the 15th birthday of a girl, also known as the ‘Quinceañera’, is celebrated in a big way. The whole family and friends are invited to feast on this special occasion. But, on the Quinceañera celebration of Monique Salinas, who lives in Benavides, Texas, the US something extraordinary happened.

Monique had a brother who unfortunately died in a car accident 10 years ago. On her 15th birthday, her parents reveal a big secret to her.

Monique was only 5 when the terrible accident happened. She and her parents have had a very difficult time since then. They have missed little Mickey terribly ever since.

Although stricken with grief, at the time of the accident, her parents decided that their son’s death should not be in vain. Their decision was to donate his organs.
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Having made that decision, they actually saved the life of a young girl they didn’t even know. Aubrey Reeves, who was just 8 years old, suffered from a congenital heart disease. Her body had already rejected two hearts at the time of Mikey’s death. But, Mikey’s heart was a perfect match. They had also given his kidneys for transplantation. Today, Aubrey is 18 years old and lives a healthy, normal life.

The whole donation process was completely anonymous. Neither did Mikey’s parents know about who the heart went to or whether the transplant was successful, nor did Aubrey know who’d saved her life. Aubrey’s personal details were first sent to Mikey’s parents 10 years after the organ donation. Then they came up with the idea to invite Aubrey and her mother to the 15th birthday of their daughter, Monique.

Although very excited about her Quinceañera, Monique was also sad that her brother couldn’t be there.

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Aubrey and her mother wanted to meet the family who gave Aubrey a second chance at life and drove 10 hours to get to Monique’s birthday party. When they came in, they were first unnoticed among the crowd of people. Then, Monique’s parents told the secret – the heart of Monique’s dead brother, Mikey, was in the middle of the room, alive and beating in the chest of a young girl. Monique broke in tears the moment she realized that the person who’d received her brother’s heart was there.

When Aubrey approached the family, the two girls and Monique’s mom Melissa embraced each other in tears.

When Monique gave Aubrey a hug she could feel her brother’s heart beating. With his heart still alive in Aubrey’s chest, Mickey was actually at his sister’s 15th birthday. This was more than Monique could’ve hoped for. She had readily accepted Aubrey as her sister. Aubrey promised Monique that she’d always be there if she needed her.

Monique was enormously grateful to have Mikey at her Quinceañera and to meet her new “sister” Aubrey at the same time.
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