Families brought together by tragedy say it was meant to be

Local News

Some may say the way the Boswell and Perry families met is tragic. To them, they consider it fate.

“It’s been just amazing to see the healing we’ve gotten throughout this process,” Holly Perry said. 


When both family’s sons were 6-months-old they were told devasting news they say they’ll never forget. The Boswells were told their son, Davis, needed a heart transplant. Doctors said if he didn’t receive one soon, he wouldn’t make it.  


“The whole time was very scary,” Amanda Boswell said. “We were uncertain of [Davis’] future.


Over in Baton Rouge, the Perry’s son, John Clarke, was also facing an illness. He was diagnosed with a brain bleed. Soon after, he died. 


During the worst moment of the Perry’s lives they were faced with a decision they say they never thought they would have to make. Doctors asked them if they would donate their son’s organs 

“I didn’t really give it a lot of thought until after I immediately said yes, and it’s been the greatest yes I think I’ve ever said,” Perry said.


John Clarke’s heart ended up in Birmingham. It was a perfect match for Davis. While one family was telling their son goodbye for the last time, the other was given a second chance at life.


“It’s hard to know in order for your child to live something tragic has to happen to another child and a family,” Boswell said. “That’s really hard. It’s hard not to feel guilty.” 


Months later and the families finally met. They agreed to stay in contact and before they knew it, they said they became family.


“For 10 seconds it was weird and then we’ve been best friends ever since,” Jonathan Perry, John Clarke’s dad, said.  


Now, four years later, they say they see each other as much as they can. Friday the families came together in honor of John Clarke. A wall in children’s hospital was dedicated to him due to his sacrifice. His picture is now on display with hundreds of other organ donors.


“It’s a way to honor him and his legacy,” Boswell said. “Not just him and all of the donors.”


Before the families head their separate ways, Saturday they’re ending their trip with their yearly tradition. The Perry’s who say they bleed purple and gold and the Boswell’s who are big auburn fans will see the two teams go head to head in Death Valley.

At the game, the two families say they are hoping to get as many people as they can to sign up to be organ donors.

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