Woman gave 'Ultimate Valentine's Day Gift' after her death - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Woman gave 'Ultimate Valentine's Day Gift' after her death

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Melissa Thorne's memorial service on Sunday was well-attended - more than 700 people showed up to remember her.

Though she may not have been known outside that circle of family and friends, a decision she made at the age of 16 changed the lives of several strangers 20 years later.

"Most people remember her as that delightful personality, easy to talk to, very caring," said Cheryl Cranston, Thorne's mother.

Thorne suffered from asthma most of her life, and it seemed to flare up in the cold weather. During the most recent snowstorm, like most Portlanders, Thorne went outside to play in it.

"After they came in from the snow, she had an acute asthma attack. She went unconscious," said Cheryl Cranston, Thorne's mother.

Thorne never regained consciousness and she died Feb. 14.

At the hospital, Thorne's family learned she had marked herself an organ donor on her driver's license.

On Valentine's Day, her heart was donated to a woman who had beaten cancer.

"She had successfully recovered from her battle with cancer only to find out that her heart had been destroyed by the cancer therapies. She needed a new heart to survive," Cranston said. "So she got the ultimate Valentine's gift - she got Melissa's strong heart."

Thorne's liver, kidneys and corneas were also given to people who needed them.

Cranston hopes to someday meet the recipients of her daughter's organs. In the meantime, she is trying to help Thorne's 11-year-old son and has set up a donation site at GoFundMe.com.

"I hope someday that he will know his mom gave the ultimate Valentine's gift and she gave her heart to someone else and he'll know that his mom was a hero," Cranston said.

To support Thorne's son, visit www.gofundme.com/celebratingmelissa

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