Two Elton John fans have shared a special bond during the American leg of the artist’s final tour.
Steve Hilfiker and Vanessa Blais are connected through her brother, whose heart Hilfiker received in a transplant surgery more than two years ago.
“The disease is called sarcoidosis and I had cardio sarcoidosis,” Hilfiker told KTLA’s Jennifer McGraw.
It was August 2020 when Hilfiker received the diagnosis and with only weeks to live, he bought a ticket to Elton John’s concert, but just days later his life was saved by an organ donor.
“It was an accidental overdose and he passed away from it,” Blais said of her 31-year-old brother Daniel,” and we said, you know, we want to donate his organs. We wanted some sort of positivity to come out of his passing.”
Just two weeks later, Blais was able to hear her brother’s heartbeat again.
“I feel so grateful to have a second chance at life,” Hilfiker said.
He also said that he could hear Elton John’s hit “Daniel,” a song that he and Blais hold dear.
The pair would go on to travel the U.S., attending the iconic singer’s concerts and listening to Daniel’s heartbeat during the song “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.”
“’Somone Saved My Life Tonight’ because I know that my brother saved lives and that’s the greatest thing in the world that he could have ever done with his life,” Blais said.
Hilfiker’s condition could have been treated had it not been missed years earlier, which is why he’s made raising awareness about the gift organ donation his mission through a nonprofit organization in Daniel’s name.