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Kentucky teen gives gift of life to Florida man

Staff Writer
Walton Sun
Walton Sun

Jill Tyler Hurst gave a gift of life.

Although the Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, 18-year-old passed away last year in a car crash, her memory lives on.

Hurst was an organ donor. John Sugrim, 48, of St. Augustine, received her heart.

Saturday, hugs and tears flowed freely as the teenager’s parents, Christy Jane and Jerry Hurst, traveled to Jacksonville to meet Sugrim for the first time in person at Mayo Clinc.

Tears welled up in Christy Jane Hurst’s eyes as she heard her daughter’s recorded heartbeat from inside a teddy bear that the Sugrim family made as a gift.

Sugrim couldn’t stop smiling Saturday. He had been in congenital heart failure for about six years at the time of the transplant, which gave him a new lease on life.

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In addition to the Hurst and Sugrim families, several of the transplant team members that were a part of this surgery also were there for the reunion.

Jill Hurst died several days after the car she was in was struck by a man fleeing from police, reported The Anderson News in Lawrenceburg, which is the family’s hometown newspaper.

In addition to her heart, Jill Hurst also donated her liver, kidneys and lungs for transplants, according to the newspaper.

Freelance photographer Dede Smith contributed to this report.

This story originally published to jacksonville.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.