By Nikki Gaskins
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — For the first time on Monday, a mother whose son was murdered met the man who received her young son's heart.
In March, 20-year-old Maraleius Birdsong was shot in the head and robbed as he tried to deliver a pizza in North Charleston. While he died shortly after his injuries, his heart continues to beat inside Timothy Jordan, a husband and father to two young children in Darlington, South Carolina.
"I'm so happy that he was a donor because he saved my life," said Jordan.
In 2010, Jordan began having extreme back pain. He was rushed to the Emergency Room in Florence and quickly placed in intensive care.
"I woke up four months later and found out I had contracted Strep A of the blood, and it caused my organs to shut down," said Jordan.
Jordan desperately needed a heart transplant, and luckily found a match in Birdsong.
"I feel very blessed, feel very blessed. I feel my son is still here with us -- just in another dimension," said Teresa Gardner, Birdsong's mother.
Gardner said her family calls itself "Heaven's Warriors," helping those in need. Birdsong not only donated his heart but he also donated his kidneys, pancreas, and liver.
In all, four people got a second chance at life through his generous donation.
"That's what we believe in, helping people, all through life and doing whatever we can to support and help," said Gardner.
For Gardner, the reunion was bittersweet. She lost a son, but part of him lives on.
"We'll always be tied together now in an awesome, awesome way," said Gardner.
Transplants are nothing new to Gardner. Two of her family members received heart transplants in the past and one of Birdsong's recipients included his own cousin.