Father killed by truck hoped his son would get a new heart; his wish came true

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The one wish of a Middle Tennessee man who died a hero has now come true. 

Eric Barlow, 42, was killed by a truck in February. It happened as he was helping a mother and son change a tire in Lewisburg on Mooresville Highway.

He left behind his wife Jill and 7-year-old son Drake who was born with a congenital heart defect.

After a long fight in and of hospitals, Drake now has a new heart. 

With a smile that dominates his face, it’s hard to see the struggles that Drake has experienced.

He’s an avid sports fan, a spicy food lover and a fighter. Every day with him is a day his family never knew for sure they would see

“We didn’t know how many days we would have with Drake so we just excepted it and lived every day like it was our last,” Drake’s godfather Marty Huskins told News 2. 

Drake was born with double inlet left ventricle. 

“Meaning he only had two heart valves while we have four.” 

At only nine days old he had open heart surgery. 

“The first 240-something days of his life, they were in Vanderbilt, and then he got to go home and he’s had several different operations since then. And for years he was not able to get on the transplant list until about a year ago,” Huskins said.

On April 28, his families prayers came true.

“That’s what his daddy always wanted, was for him to have a chance of being a normal little boy, like every other boy and it’s bittersweet that his Daddy wasn’t here to see that. It’s bittersweet that his Daddy wasn’t able to walk him out of the hospital that day. They are just alike in so many ways. Drake walks like his Daddy and we have very good memories of his Dad,” Huskins said with tears in his eyes. 

While his Dad’s heart may have stopped beating, Drake’s has just started. 

“A heart can reject at any time, but we are hopeful he will be an old man one day and be looking at his grandchildren.”

Huskins went on to say how grateful they are for donors.

“We’d like to thank the family for donating this heart for their gift of life. If it weren’t for that we don’t know how much longer we would have had with Drake and we hope one day we can meet them so they can see what they did for us and we hope it gives them peace in their heart.”

Eric’s ashes were recently spread in his home town of Fort Meade, Florida on the football field at his high school.

Wednesday would have been Eric and Jill’s 20th anniversary.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.

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