HOUSTON, Tex. (CNN/KTRK) -- Two young Texans waiting for heart transplants ended up with new hearts and new love.
Linda Thibodeaux and Jordan Merecka like watching alligator shows, they like to cook, and they both have new hearts. Merecka says, "She got her transplant May 11, and I got Syncardia May 22."
Their romance began in the hospital, where they were waiting for heart transplants at the same time. When a heart became available last May, it matched Linda. To keep Jordan alive, Texas Children's surgeons gave him the new artificial heart. Thibodeaux says, "Our physical therapists and our nurses decided that we should meet."
Jordan came to visit, dragging the 400 pound console that ran the artificial heart. He says, "I'm not going to lie. It was kind of an awkward meeting at first."
Thibodeaux says, "I don't think we really knew what to think yet. We were just kind of like, 'Oh, okay.'"
But they had so much in common. Thibodeaux says, "I'd never met anyone my age that was going through -- pretty much going through the same exact thing." Merecka adds, "It was really nice to finally have someone to talk about who understood what I was going through."
Linda was a friend for the five months that Jordan was on the artificial heart. He says, "There was hope that I could live a normal life like she was doing."
And when he was near death in October, they finally found a heart for him. He says, "I felt like it was myself getting a whole new heart again, but it was him, and it was just a beautiful moment."
As Jordan and Linda recovered, their friendship grew into a romance. She says, "Seems like we've come so far. We're both doing amazing. It's wonderful."
They're signing up organ donors. He says, "I wouldn't be here without someone donating their heart, and it's such a selfless act."
It's been almost a year since Linda and Jordan wished for a new heart. Now they have their wish, and they've given their new hearts to each other.
Jordan will begin an engineering program this fall. Linda wants to be a dentist.