Moment heart transplant patient dances with donor’s sister at her wedding

Scott Rutherford with new bride Julie Teasdale. (SWNS)
Scott Rutherford and Julie Teasdale. (SWNS)

This is the moment the sister of a heart donor danced with the man her brother saved - on her wedding day.

Scott Rutherford, 28, shared an emotional embrace with bride Julie Teasdale as they remembered her brother, John Carter, who died from a brain tumour in 2008.

Scott formed an unbreakable bond with John’s parents six years ago - after he discovered they had chosen to donate their 33-year-old son’s heart so he could live.

An emotional Scott said he went to Julie’s wedding last Saturday so her brother John could be there with the family “in his own way”.

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Scott wanted Julie's brother to be at her wedding “in his own way”. (SWNS)
Scott wanted Julie's brother to be at her wedding “in his own way”. (SWNS)
Scott Rutherford with Julie Teasdale and John Carter's mum Freda. (SWNS)
Scott with Julie and John Carter's mum Freda. (SWNS)

Scott, an actor from North Shields, Tyne and Wear, said: “Freda just put her hand on my chest and felt John’s heartbeat and Julie did the same, and I think we all just shared that moment together.

"It was really emotional. I had tears streaming down my face, but it was just so beautiful at the same time. It was like he was there in his own way.”

“I remember Julie saying when me and my partner left, ‘Thank you for coming, it made my night.’

“And I said, ‘I wouldn’t miss it for the world. You saved my life, so of course, I’m going to bring John along.’

Since birth, Scott suffered from “transposition of the great arteries” – an extremely rare condition where the pumping chambers of the heart don’t function correctly.

He had four open-heart surgeries and “hundreds” of medical procedures, before being struck down by heart failure at 14 and accepting a transplant a year later.

Scott later stumbled upon his donor family at a commemorative service, with Freda, John’s mother, going on to attend his birthdays and key life events.

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Scott Rutherford in hospital as a teenager. (SWNS)
Scott Rutherford in hospital as a teenager. (SWNS)

Scott always wanted to meet John’s family, but only bumped into them by chance when he volunteered to speak at an event for organ donors at the last minute.

Scott and Freda have become close, with the pair referring to each other as their “heart-mother” and “heart-son” respectively.

And after Scott was introduced to John’s sister, Julie, a few years later, he said it was “incredible” to be asked to attend her wedding.

Scott added: “I could feel myself tearing up straight away as it was the first time we had been reunited since the pandemic, so we hadn’t seen each other for three and a half years.

“Then Freda, John’s mum came over to me, pulled me up, and I just stood cuddling his mother, just swaying from side to side, with her hand on my chest.

“And then she took me to the dance floor, and that’s when I went in the arms of Julie, and we just shared this lovely moment together, dancing and swaying to this song, feeling John present there.”