Nov 1, 2013 11:16 PM by Erin Steuber
It was a special night at Downtown Alive in Lafayette. A huge pep rally was held for the Ragin' Cajuns, ahead of tomorrow's homecoming game. But it was also a very special night for one Lafayette family. For the Nelson family, it was also a homecoming of sorts.
The Nelson's 18-year-old son Christian was killed in a work-place accident back in May. But Christian was an organ donor, and his heart is still beating strong inside another 18-year-old Kaylon Marshall of Shreveport. Last month, the Nelson's heard their son's heartbeat for the first time since his death, but that wasn't the end of this new relationship. Marshall wanted to visit his hero's hometown.
You wouldn't know it now, but five months ago Kaylon Marshall was desperate for a new heart. Now, his heart is beating strong thanks to donor Christian Nelson.
"I saw him go to almost 0, declining in the hospital waiting for a heart," said Kaylon's mother, Pamela Marshall. "So to see him up again, back to 100 percent, it's priceless."
Since last month, when both families met for the first time, the Nelsons say they have been trying to find every excuse to invite the Marshall family to Lafayette.
"That's how much fun they are and how good they are," said Christian's father, Hans Nelson. "They understand the importance of what this means for both of our families."
Once an all-star football player, Kaylon hopes to one day play again, and he's thinking about doing it right here in Lafayette.
"They're telling me to come walk on at UL," said Kaylon. "You may see me here."
Both families say it's bitter-sweet how they've come to this point, but now they're family.
"Ever since the first day I met them, I fell in love with them," said Pamela.
Christian's tragic death gave new life to Kaylon, something the Nelsons say has helped the healing process.
"To know that his heart is still beating and he's living, he's still here with us," said Christian's mother, Jenn Nelson. "It's amazing."
"For him to continue to work, literally, to keep other people alive is an amazing thing to leave behind," said Hans.
"It's great I have two families now," said Kaylon.
The Nelsons and Marshalls encourage everyone to consider organ donation.
For more information on how, click here.