“Shocking and just amazing.” Those are the words Aubrey Reeves, 18, used to describe meeting her “sister” for the first time. Aubrey met her new sister Monique Salinas, 15, at Monique’s quinceañera. In Latin American culture, a quinceañera is a coming-of-age birthday party for 15-year-old girls similar to a Sweet 16. Though Aubrey and Monique don’t share any blood relatives, they are tied together by a heart.
Ten years ago, Monique’s older brother Mikey was killed in a car accident. His heart, which was still in good condition despite the accident, was donated, so that it could go to someone in need. It went to Aubrey in Wichita Falls, Texas. Though her body had rejected two other donor hearts, this one worked, and still works to this day. Aubrey also received one of Mikey's kidneys.
Monique was overjoyed to meet Aubrey, whose appearance at the event was a surprise. When they embraced for the first time during the festivities, Monique felt an instant connection.
“I just didn’t want to let go,” she said to KIII News. “Words can’t explain.”
Likewise Aubrey said the two will always have a special bond.
“He is still here through me, in me,” she told KIII. “I will always be here for her whenever she needs me because she didn’t get to have that with Mikey, but she can have that with me.”
Watch KIII's new coverage of the special meeting below.