Tragically, there is another mystery that comes from Vidalia. Sonny Graham, who lived in Vidalia, began suffering from congestive heart failure around 1995. His salvation came when the Medical University of South Carolina contacted him telling him that a 33 year old man, Terry Cottle, had been a heart donor. Sadly, Mr. Cottle committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. His heart was available. Through this tragedy, Sonny Graham could have hope. The heart transplant took place, and Graham recovered. About a year after the surgery, Graham contacted the agency that helped him find the heart. He was given the name and address of Cottle's widow, Cheryl. Graham contacted her, and through letters, phone calls, and visits, the two formed a strong bond. Over time, the two fell in love, and Graham and Cheryl Cottle were married. She moved to Vidalia to be with him.
If the story ended there, it would have no place on my blog, but it was not to be. Four years after the two wed in 2004, Graham tragically took his own life, the same way that Terry Cottle had before. He shot himself in the head. He did it in the garage of the home that the couple shared in Toombs County. Cheryl was now a widow again. She had lost two husbands the same way, and ironically, they both had the same heart. Friends of Sonny Graham said he showed no signs of depression. Cheryl Graham herself made no mention of any concern she had about Sonny in that respect either. This is one strange story. Think of it. A man kills himself by shooting himself in the head. Then, his heart is given to another man in the next state. That man meets and marries the former man's widow. Years later, that man kills himself the same way the donor had, and leaves his wife as a widow a second time and in the same manner.
Some scientists report that there are over 70 cases of people taking on the characteristics and personalities of their organ donors. In fact, a woman from Lancashire, England claimed that her literary tastes changed significantly after a liver transplant she had. Previously, she had enjoyed the biographies of celebrities and pop-fiction such as The Davinci Code. After the transplant, she developed a taste for classical literature at the expense of her previous taste. Scientists say that the phenomenon is called cellular memory phenomenon. However, most in the medical field are skeptical of this and say there is no credible evidence to back this claim. But whatever the case may be, this incident in Vidalia sounds very, very strange. My prayers go out to Cheryl Graham. The news reports of this story can be found at the following links: