Daughter may live on in dad's heart - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Daughter may live on in dad's heart

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DECORAH (KWWL) - The bond between some fathers and daughters is strong, and in Iowa that bond may prove to be the difference between life and death.   A twist of fate may leave a father in Decorah with a piece of his daughter in his heart forever.

Dawn Patino was full of life, easy to love, and born to teach - at church and at Fort Worth's Daggett Elementary School in Texas.

The last day of school, June 5th, as Dawn played kickball with her students, she blew out her achilles tendon.
Surgery followed, and a cast up to her hip.  Then, the phone call to Iowa that shocked her family.

Dawn's mom, Evie Peterson said, "Dawn is on life support... They feel from that surgery formed a blood clot that went into her lung."

Dawn died on Father's Day - June 21 - at the age of 34.
Her family agreed to donate her organs and tissue to help others live.
That's where Dawn's story takes another unexpected turn.

Her father, Lester Peterson was in the process of scheduling an aortic valve replacement.

Dawn's sister Denise said, "Just an awe moment.  You don't realize, she'll be with us in his heart forever...  I have a feeling i'll be laying on my dad's chest, just listening to her heart beat."

Some of dawn's organs were transplanted immediately. The valve for her father is waiting. Tests will determine whether it's a perfect match.

Dawn's family held a memorial service in Decorah Thursday.

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