Two Wisconsin families forever connected after a heart transplant

Updated: May. 16, 2021 at 10:54 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - 14-year-old Cade Werner of Rubicon was on the way to school with his 16-year-old brother, Cody, when they were in a tragic car accident in March 2017. His mother, Gloria Werner, said Cade had been ejected from the car and had severe head injuries. A few days later, Cade died at Children’s Wisconsin in Milwaukee after continuous complications. His family knew Cade had a special place in his heart to help others and to honor his life, they donated his organs. Doctors told the Werner’s that Cade’s gift of life saved four people; one young boy, two elderly men, and a teenage girl.

“At least if something good can come out of it, you know, he saved those people, he helped those people. And he did he really loved children, he loved the elderly, he was a pretty cool kid. So, I know he would be happy to know that,” said Gloria.

The young boy was 4-year-old Greyson Cornelius of Green Bay, he was born with congenital heart defects. Greyson was only 25 pounds when he had an adult heart pump placed in his chest at Children’s Wisconsin, making him the youngest and smallest child in the country to ever receive this.

“He’s eight years old. And so we’re a little over four years out from transplant and he is a normal second grader he runs around he has no restrictions he’s doing phenomenal,” said Shannon Cornelius, mother of Greyson.

Shannon said now, 8-year-old Greyson is thriving and loves watching movies and musical plays. Shannon said that eight months after the heart transplant, she contacted the Werner family and they met just two weeks later. The families said they share an unbreakable bond, seeing each other as often as possible, and the mother’s texting on a weekly basis.

“We are happy to have them in our lives and we are so happy for the decision that they made and that they could give Greyson, you know, a new life. So, and I am so happy that I can give them the chance to watch Greyson grow up,” Shannon explained. “Greyson has a bond, an incredible bond with Gloria’s son, Cody, it’s just unreal to watch.”

“Another thing that really makes my heart warm, is when I see my husband and Cody see Greyson. They just light up and it’s just, it is so awesome watching him grow up,” said Gloria.

Their story will be shared during the Miracle radio Marathon this Thursday and Friday, May 20-21. This event is the largest fundraiser for Children’s Wisconsin.

“What this provides is an opportunity to tell stories about the great work that is going on within the hospital within our system really throughout the state, helping kids and families thrive and live great lives,” said Christine Baranoucky, Vice President of Engagement and Stewardship, Children’s Wisconsin Foundation.

The Werner’s and Cornelius’ urge anyone to suggest becoming an organ donor.

“Now look at it, we get Greyson to enjoy, and we know that he’s helped how many more people and it’s just such a rewarding thing to do that, I definitely would encourage it,” said Gloria.

The Miracle Marathon is a two-day event from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., people can tune in by listening to WKLH 96.5 in Milwaukee, or stream it by clicking here. To find more information on the event, or to donate, click here.

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