Rebecca Turney wasn’t expecting to see the recipient of her son’s heart, 21-year-old Jacob Kilby, standing in as a groomsman on the big day Saturday, but her now-husband, Kelly Turney, had it all planned.
“It was a good thing the officiant, my brother-in-law, held my hand as hard as he did because I probably would have [fallen] from excitement,” Rebecca said. “I squealed like a little girl. I couldn’t wait to just embrace him.”
Rebecca’s son Triston Green died in 2015 at the age of 19 and his organs went to five recipients, including Kilby.
“I was talking to Jacob’s aunt back in February and asked him if he would come up and be a surprise groomsman for the wedding and we worked on it for a couple months,” Kelly told InsideEdition.com.
Kilby, who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, received his first transplant at 2 years old, but when he turned 19, the organ began to fail and he was put on the transplant wait list in California.
He was in the hospital for 45 days before receiving Triston’s heart. After the surgery, the families began writing letters back and forth before eventually connecting on social media.
Kelly knew it would be a special moment for Rebecca to have Kilby present on a day the couple will never forget.
“I was definitely excited, eager and anxious, all the words combined. It was definitely an exciting moment. I’m glad I made it to Alaska and pulled the surprise off for Kelly,” Kilby told InsideEdition.com.
A photographer with Love Adventured captured Rebecca’s surprise as well as the touching moment she was able to use a stethoscope to listen to her son’s heartbeat through Kilby.
The look on her face is priceless.
“It was the most amazing, immense feeling of joy anyone could experience,” Rebecca said.
Kelly said that when it was time to kiss the bride, attendees of the wedding noticed that the sun came out.
The couple believes it was Triston’s way of attending the ceremony.
“The sun came down and shined on us,” Kelly said. “I believed that was definitely Triston letting us know he’s happy.”