Mother Meets Boy Who Received Her Daughter’s Heart
Family| | By Sierra McCleary-Harris
Losing a child is devastating, but sometimes, knowing that a part of your loved one lives on can provide a measure of comfort.
That was the case for Brandon and Lacey Wilcox, who lost their 2-year-old daughter, Alaiya, to a case of bacterial meningitis. In the moments following the loss of their daughter, the couple had a huge decision to make: Did they want to donate her organs?
Although the year was an immeasurably tough one for the Wilcox family, their trials brought the family closer together.
“The entire first year was extremely hard for us all,” Wilcox said. “Losing my mother and our daughter eight days apart was the worst thing that has ever happened. We shortly found out we were pregnant with our third daughter … Our 3-year-old was devastated she lost her sister and best friend. We definitely came even closer together as a family. We often wondered if the recipient family was appreciative of the beautiful gift Alaiya had given.”
Little Alaiya’s heart went to Mason, the 10-month-old son of Angela Perkins. Wilcox learned of the news in December 2016 from her photographer, Suha Dabit.
Dabit, the founder of World of Broken Hearts and herself the mother of a transplant recipient, connected the two moms.
“I was extremely emotional, yet happy. Angela messaged me on Facebook and we shared our stories. She couldn’t tell me enough how grateful they were for giving Mason a chance at life,” Wilcox said. “…When we saw for ourselves how she ALWAYS recognizes Alaiya in her posts about Mason, we knew she loved her. We talked about meeting all year. We knew it was important for all of us to have a relationship because we are connected for life.”
Angela and Lacey decided to meet in Nashville, the halfway point for both families. Though Lacey was excited to meet the little boy who literally holds her daughter’s heart, it was a bittersweet occasion.
“In a perfect world, Alaiya and Mason could have both been saved and Angela and I could have met in the baby aisle of Target, but that isn’t our story. We are so glad Mason is doing well, but as parents, we would give anything to have our baby back … We are so happy our families met,” she said.
Dabit told PopSugar, “I’m all about raising organ donation awareness as it has touched my family’s life. It’s beautiful that so much life can come out of it. We cannot control death, but we can try to control what comes after; there can still be something good that comes out of a big tragedy.”
Photos of the meeting show an obviously emotional Wilcox family taking turns listening to Mason’s heartbeat with a stethoscope. Perkins, no less emotional, was moved by how quickly her son, Mason, warmed up to the Wilcox family, saying it usually takes weeks for him to comfortably interact with new people.
“Meeting our donor family was so special. I am still amazed at how quickly Mason started to interact with them … I am a firm believer that a parent’s love is forever woven into our hearts, and there’s no doubt that the heart that beats inside of Mason knows the familiarity of Brandon and Lacey,” she said.
“I am forever grateful for the gift of life, and I will always make sure that Mason lives a life big enough for two,” she added.
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