By Lissandra Villa, The Gazette
MAY 29, 2015 | 11:04 PM
IOWA CITY — “You’ll be with me like a handprint on my heart.”
That lyric from the musical, “Wicked,” and a transplanted heart that is beating to this day, continue to link two families from Eastern Iowa and upstate New York.
For New York’s Holly Campbell, the song “For Good” was the goodbye she sang to her son, Jake, who died at 11 weeks after he stopped breathing in the summer of 2007.
For Muscatine’s Kim Scadlock, “For Good” was the song she sung to her son, Beckham, after he emerged from heart transplant surgery at 2 weeks old.
As the two moms discovered later, it was Jake’s heart that saved Beckham’s life. And the song one had sung as a farewell and one had sung as a welcome was sung Friday as a duet — the first time the moms had sung it together.
Members of both families gathered Friday to tell their stories and sing for family, friends, nurses, doctors and passers at John W. Colloton Pavilion at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. On Saturday, Scadlock and Campbell’s husbands, Nate and Andy, will speak at a dinner following the Iowa Transplant Open, a golf tournament to raise money and awareness for organ and tissue donations, in Muscatine.
For the Campbells, the death of their son presented an opportunity to keep another family from losing a child, too.
“What can we do to make the best of the worst possible situation?” Campbell said she and her husband asked before making the decision to donate.
Beckham as born with heart valve problems. The only way to save his life was a heart transplant, but the odds of finding a heart that small seemed slim — until Jake’s donation.
After the transplant surgery, Beckham was very sensitive.
“The only thing that I could really do was sing to him,” Scadlock said. Beckham is now 7.
“It gave us comfort knowing that part of Jake continues to live on,” Campbell said.
The Campbell clan was able to track down the Scadlock family using the Internet and news articles. They also found a blog Scadlock had kept to document Beckham’s progress.
When the Scadlocks reached out, the Campbells were able to say they already knew who they were.
“I’d written the letter a thousand times in my head,” Campbell said.
The families met the first time in 2010 at the Transplant Games of America in Wisconsin.
After Friday’s piano-accompanied performance, which was not rehearsed, Beckham joined his mother at the front of the room.
“Thanks for my heart,” he said.