- Associated Press - Monday, October 12, 2015

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. (AP) - More than two years ago Viola Speed Turner’s son, Albert, 20, was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee. At that time, Turner made one of the toughest decisions a mother can make - she decided to donate his heart for transplant.

With that loving sacrifice, James Wibbenmeyer of Perryville, Missouri, got a second chance at life. In an interview with WREG-TV in Memphis, Wibbenmeyer said he had been suffering from heart failure for 20 years. He added that he probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Albert’s donation.

Recently Turner met with Wibbenmeyer at the Mid-South Transplant Foundation in Cordova, Tennessee, and hugged him and was able to hear her son’s heart beating inside Wibbenmeyer’s chest.

Turner, a Helena-West Helena native, has written a book about the experience of losing her son to gun violence. “Tears of the Heart” is a collection of poems that speaks of past experiences that wind up influencing the present and the future, The Daily World (https://bit.ly/1WQ5uK6 ) reports.

Turner is an inspirational writer, a Gospel minister, motivational speaker, an advocate against gun violence and supporter of organ donation. Currently, she resides in Jonesboro with her daughter, Jada and son, London. As an opponent of gun violence, she works tirelessly in her community with the young people, helping them lead productive lives.

“My ongoing mission is to educate the public on the importance of becoming organ donors and to keep communities safe from gun violence,” said Turner. “The driving force beneath my wings is my son, Albert.”

Turner will conduct a book signing at Arkansas State University on Nov. 7. On Friday, Nov. 13, she will be in Helena for a book signing at the Hunt Education Center at 105 Missouri St. beginning at 5 p.m.

“My son and I co-wrote the book,” added Turner. “It can be bought on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. All the proceeds will go to a nonprofit organization called ‘Colors for a Cause’ for donor recipients and victims of gun violence.”


Information from: The Daily World, https://www.helena-arkansas.com/

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