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  • She may have turned 60 this year, but Judy Meikle is young at heart.

    What else could she be with the heart of a 21-year-old hero—Army Ranger Corporal Ben Kopp—beating within her chest.

    How it got there is nothing short of a miracle.

    Kopp was shot in the leg on July 10, 2009, while raiding a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan’s Helmand province with his unit—3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

    The corporal was flown to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany before being transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. By the time he arrived at Walter Reed, his prognosis wasn’t good. He had lost a lot of blood.

    As soon as he arrived at Walter Reed his family started a blog, Pray for Ben. There, supporters could offer prayers, as well as comforting and encouraging words for Ben and his immediate family. His mother, Jill Stephenson, posted daily—sometimes hourly—updates on his condition.

    At the same time, in Chicago, another blog, Judy’s Ticker, was updated daily by 57-year-old Judy Meikle. She had recently been diagnosed with heart disease and was searching for a new heart. In fact, she had just made the announcement three months earlier that she was officially on the list for a transplant.

    On July 18, Jill made the announcement through her Pray for Ben blog that her son was not going to make it and that his organs would be donated.

    That’s when a single reader united their worlds.

    Maria Burud, Stephenson’s cousin who lived in Chicago, had been following Kopp’s condition. She had also worked with Meikle.

    Two days later Judy Meikle received a new heart, courtesy of an American war hero.

    ... continued...
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