Teen says heart from Gaston Co. girl gave him 'new chance at life'

Golf tournament for teen killed in accident
Destiny Stafford, 15, and Brandon Hernandez, 17. (Source: WBTV/File)
Destiny Stafford, 15, and Brandon Hernandez, 17. (Source: WBTV/File)

CRAMERTON, NC (WBTV) - A teenage boy from Florida was in Gaston County Friday to help honor the life of a local teenager whose death gave him a new chance at life.

Destiny Stafford was 15 years old when she died last summer. She was riding her father's horse when she was thrown off. As she was standing up to get back on the horse, she was kicked in the head. Her mom, Kelly, donated most of her daughter's organs.

Brandon Hernandez was 17 years old when he got Destiny's heart.

"Without receiving her heart, I wouldn't be here today," Brandon said.

He was in Cramerton for the inaugural Destiny Lives On Foundation Golf Tournament. The golf tournament is the first big fundraiser for the Destiny Lives On Foundation. The organization was started to help support organ donation.

Brandon called the decision to donate organs "incredibly important."

"It's given me a new chance at life, which I will always be grateful for," he said.

Brandon's family reached out to Kelly Stafford last Fall on Facebook.

"I noticed a friend request and we had no friends in common," Kelly said in November. "Normally I would just delete that but for some reason I decided to look at the page. First thing I saw was a post about how it had been two months since their son's heart transplant... and I just knew."

Kelly immediately wrote the family back. The family replied, welcoming Kelly to their family.

"It was the most beautiful message I'd ever received," she said. "The father told me Destiny's heart was beating strong in his son and that he wouldn't have made it past this November without a transplant."

Brandon had a message for Destiny at the event.

"Even though I never really met you - going by what I've seen from your family - you were a truly kind, loving and inspirational young woman," he said. "[You family are] truly amazing people."


Copyright 2016 WBTV. All rights reserved.