Idaho toddler saved by teen’s heart valve receives letter from donor’s mother

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Ammon — Jayson Infanger received a special letter in the mail for his fourth birthday last week, and the coincidental timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

The letter was from Mona Brown, a Utah mother whose 14-year-old son died in September 2011.

Mason Brown was walking with a friend when he was hit by a car in Kearns, Utah. He died 17 days later.

“I just knew that in light of a tragedy, someone should benefit from it,” Brown tells “We decided to give his tissues, valves and other organs to others. Since then, Mason’s donation has benefited over 80 recipients.”

One of those recipients was Jayson.

“Two days after Jayson was born, I was at work and Ashley called me crying,” Michael Infanger, Jayson’s dad, recalls. “There was something wrong, and the doctors said we needed to get him down to Primary Children’s Hospital immediately.”

Jayson’s aortic valve was failing, and he was rushed into surgery. Doctors removed part of Jayson’s valve and replaced it with part of Mason’s.

“The underneath part of the arch is a graft from Mason,” Infanger says. “The top part is all Jayson’s so it can still grow with him as it gets older.”

The surgery was a success, and Jayson went home two weeks later. But since the operation four years ago, his parents have wanted to thank the donor who saved their son’s life.

They wrote a letter and sent it to Intermountain Donor Services, which then forwarded it to Brown.

She responded last week, and on Oct. 3, the anniversary of Mason’s death and two days after Jayson’s birthday, the Infangers received the letter.

“I don’t cry very much, but she wrote us a beautiful handwritten letter, and it brings all those memories rushing back,” Infanger says. “What do you say to somebody whose son has passed away?”

In part of her letter, Brown wrote:

“Mason loved life. He was kind and always fought for the underdog. He was everyone’s friend, and if Jayson grows up with an unexplained love of ‘Star Wars’, it might be from the part of his heart that came from Mason. Mason loved ‘Star Wars’ and light sabers since he was younger than Jayson. He loved it so much, he was buried as a Jedi.”

Infanger says that paragraph is telling because his son is kind to everyone and is a “Star Wars” fanatic. In fact, he plans to be Darth Vader for Halloween.

Since receiving the letter, the Infangers and Brown have been exchanging Facebook messages. They hope to meet someday, and both families say they are thankful to have each other.

“I’m extremely grateful for the parents contacting me,” Brown says. “It made a difficult week a little easier, and I look forward to watching Jayson grow up.”