When it comes to matters of the heart, teenagers Linda Thibodeaux and Jordan Merecka have gone through more than most.
The two heart transplant survivors have emerged from a challenging journey of sickness and recovery with new hearts full of love for each other, ABC News reports.
Thibodeaux and Merecka first met last year at the Texas Children's Hospital in Houston where they were both awaiting surgery and new hearts, at the recommendation of their physical therapists and nurses.
With Merecka hooked up to a 400-pound artificial heart and Thibodeaux adorned with a mask on her face, the meeting was an awkward one, HLNTV reports.
But it didn't take long for the two teenagers to realize how much they had in common.
They love to cook and enjoy watching alligator shows, and were both bound by life-threatening medical conditions.
Around the same time, 18-year-old Merecka was given a SynCardia, a 'total artificial heart' attached to a portable power source, after surgeons were unable to find a heart for him. According to a press release, Merecka became the first pediatric total artificial heart patient to be discharged from Texas Children's Hospital after the revolutionary procedure.
Initially, the two were only friends. With a recovering Thibodeaux by his side, Merecka kept hoping that a new heart would soon be found for him.
"There was hope I could live a normal life like she was doing," Merecka told ABC News.
Finally, in October last year, with Merecka's health fading fast, a suitable donor heart was found.
"I felt like [I was] getting a whole new heart again, but it was him and it was a beautiful moment," Thibodeaux said.
As the pair recovered from their surgeries, love began to blossom.
"Seems like we've come so far and both doing amazing," Thibodeaux said. "It's wonderful."
The teenagers told ABC News that they "remind each other to take meds" and are looking forward to a bright future.
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