NASHVILLE, Tenn. (KTVU) - Two families recently came together in a bittersweet meeting as a young heart transplant recipient met his donor's family.
According to World of Broken Hearts, a little girl named Alaiya had died of bacterial meningitis. When her family was asked about donating her organs they didn't hesitate. "Alaiya was such a giving child that we knew it was the right thing to do. We knew that she would be saving others' lives," said Alaiya's mom Lacey.
Alaiya's heart went on to save a 10-month-old boy named Mason. Alaiya's grieving family had always hoped they would meet the little boy and hear her heart beat again.
Mason's mom Angela tracked down Alaiya's mother in December of 2016. She wanted Alaiya's family to know that Alaiya had given their son Mason a "chance at life" and they would make sure he "lives a fulfilling life."
Mason's family kept in touch with Alaiya's family with a constant outpouring of gratitude.
Mason had a doctor's appointment Monday in Nashville which was a halfway point for the families. They were finally able to meet with a rollercoaster of emotions.
"Seeing Mason for the first time, we instantly felt a connection. So many feelings were running through me. I was happy and sad all in one. Seeing for ourselves how happy and energetic Mason is was a relief. It showed us how 'perfect' Alaiya's heart was for him. This entire experience is 'bittersweet' because as parents we want all of our children with us, and that isn't our situation. 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 definitely saw Alaiya in him yesterday. We are so happy our families met," said Lacey.
Mason's mom said normally it takes him weeks to warm up to strangers but he began instantly interacting with Alaiya's family. "(It was) 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 added she will make sure Mason lives a life big enough for two.
Alaiya's family said there could not have been a better recipient family for their sweet daughter's heart.