Stunning Photos of Family That Lost Their Toddler Meeting the Boy With Her Heart
After Lacey Tiara Wilcox and her husband, Brandon, lost their 2-year-old daughter, Alaiya, to bacterial meningitis, they immediately said yes to donating the little girl's organs to potentially save the lives of other children in need. Because of their selfless act, a little boy named Mason — who was born with various heart issues and received his first open heart surgery at just 2 weeks old — has a healthy heart.
When Lacey found out that Alaiya's heart went to a 10-month-old, Mason, she was connected with his mom, Angela Perkins. "She couldn't tell me enough how grateful they were for giving Mason a chance at life and that her and her family will make sure he lives a fulfilling life," Lacey wrote in a post shared by the World of Broken Hearts Organization's Facebook page. "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."
The families finally had an opportunity to meet on Sept. 25, 2017, and emotions were running high among both families. For Lacey, she says seeing Mason for the first time was bittersweet, but to see how happy and active he is now reassures her that her daughter's heart was "perfect" for him. For Angela, she couldn't believe that her mama's boy who takes a while to warm up to strangers was immediately taken with Alaiya's parents and sisters.
"It normally takes him weeks to warm up to people he's never met, but it was different with them, almost as if he's known them for ages. 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 wrote. "I am forever grateful for the gift of life, and I will always make sure that Mason lives a life big enough for two."
Suha Dabit — a photographer, the founder of World of Broken Hearts, and mom to a daughter who received a heart transplant — captured this truly emotional moment through stunning photos.
"I had the opportunity to meet my daughter's donor family, so I know how incredibly emotional it is," Suha told POPSUGAR, before describing what it was like to be in the presence of such a special meeting between two families. "The pictures don't really do it justice. What I witnessed was so sweet; both families have so much love to give. You could tell the pain they were feeling and the love they had for one another."
Because it's a topic that hits so close to home for Suha, she also commented on the bittersweet reality of organ donation, especially when it comes to children. "I'm all about raising organ donation awareness as it has touched my family's life," she said. "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."
Ahead, the gorgeous photos Suha took of the family's emotional meeting, which will take your breath away.