Father of organ donor bikes cross country to raise awareness

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A father rode his bike thousands of miles to South Florida to honor his daughter, but he had no idea a touching surprise was waiting for him.

Bill Connor started his trek to pedal across the country on May 22 and has since rode 2,600 miles. It’s all to honor his daughter Abigail “Abbey” Mae Conner.

“I wouldn’t advise anyone to do 2,600 miles, I’ll tell you that, but it was worth every mile,” Connor said.

Abbey drowned in Mexico over the Christmas holiday. She was then airlifted to Broward Health Medical Center but did not survive.

The 20-year-old was an organ donor, and her heart is now inside Loumonth Jack, Jr. “I’m still here because of Abigail,” he said.

A viral infection spread to Loumonth’s heart, which gave the 21-year-old a heart attack.

“In January, they gave him days to live,” said Loumonth’s mother, Alicia Jack. “On January 13, he received the heart.”

“Thank God. He has been so good,” said Loumonth Jack, Sr. “I thank God every morning, every day for my child being here.”

The Jacks met Connor on Father’s Day, where he was able to hear Abbey’s heart.

“I wouldn’t want it any place else,” Connor said. “He’s gotta take care of her, and I know she’ll take care of him. He’ll be in our family the rest of my life.”

Connor’s cross-country journey gave him lots of time to think and mourn. “The senseless death, I wasn’t about to allow her to go away without people knowing my daughter,” he said tearing up, “and now the world knows who she is.”

He wants to spread the word on the importance of organ donations. He sold everything he owns and now lets Abbey guide him to help save lives. Connor ended his journey in Fort Lauderdale where he said Abbey’s legacy began.

Now he has a new friend, who he calls Abbey-Jack, and together will continue their mission.

“Organ donation right now is the number one thing on my list for the rest of my life,” Connor said. “I don’t know who you are, but if you’re not a donor, there’s no excuse. Be a donor.”

Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.