Killed In Hit-and-Run, Chico Woman’s Heart Beats On - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Killed In Hit-and-Run, Chico Woman’s Heart Beats On

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Last year, a Chico State college student's life was cut short after she was hit by a suspected drunk driver.

But as Tyler May with KMPH Fox 26 News partner CNN shares, now, that student's organs have saved other people, including one woman who has made an unusual promise to her family.

On September 22, 2013, the City of Trees became a city of tears.

Chico State nursing student Kristina Chesterman was riding her bike home after a long day of studying. She was hit by a car and left for dead. Kristina was pronounced brain dead two days later.

In life, Kristina's goal was to help others and in death, it was no different because she was an organ donor. Two babies received parts of her liver and a family friend got a kidney.

250 miles south of where Kristina went to school, 64–year–old Susan Vieira was in congestive heart failure. She'd been on the transplant list since July. "I never dreamed in my life of that how they would remediate my heart," said Vieira.

Vieira got a call three days after Kristina's death from the doctors at Stanford University; they had a heart.

Later that night, with hearts in Chico still broken, Kristina's heart would beat again.

Susan Vieira had a second chance at life and as soon as she was well, she set out on a journey to find Kristina's family. She found them on Facebook and got in touch with Kristina's mother, Sandra Chesterman.

"The heart is who you are. I just think that I just wanted to feel Kristina again. To hear Kristina's heart beat again and I did," said Chesterman.

Vieira and Chesterman met for the first time on Sunday. "I felt an instant connection. I felt that I've known her for a long time. I felt comfortable right away. Even on the phone talking to her, I felt a connection," said Chesterman.

Vieira has made a promise to the Chesterman family, that as long as she's physically able, she will fulfill the goals and dreams Kristina could not. "She wanted to fly a plane, she wanted to travel extensively, she wanted to ride a camel…" said Chesterman.

"It's taken me so long to recover that I don't have full impact of the heart yet. Kristina's waiting there to advise me," said Vieira.

"I think Kristina's heart was meant to go to Susan," said Chesterman.

The Chesterman's began a foundation in honor of their daughter, the Kristina Chesterman Memorial Nursing Scholarship, which has already raised more than $30,000.

Her family is also planning to build a health center in Nigeria in her honor.

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