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Wichita woman meets family of her heart donor

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 9:40 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A heartfelt reunion Thursday happened as a Wichita woman met the family of her heart donor. Four years ago this week, Danecia Williams received the life-saving gift.

After exchanging letters and messages for the last few years, Thursday was the first time Williams met the family of Rylee Malone, the young woman who saved her life. Williams was diagnosed with heart failure as a result of childbirth. She suffered two strokes before she go the transplant four years ago.

Now, she’s able to watch her son grow up, thanks to Malone, a woman she never met. On Thursday, Rylee Malone’s parents, Piper and Bart Malone drove from Texas with their granddaughter to meet Williams.

“When you receive somebody else’s organ, it’s one thing, but then their heart, it’s something totally different because you think of the heart, you think of their very essence,” Williams said.

For Williams, meeting Rylee’s family is a chance to know the woman who gave her a second chance at life.

“It was just really important to me that I could connect to them,” Williams said.

Rylee Malone was 17 when she died in a car wreck. Her heart ensures that Williams can live.

“Every parent wants their child to grow up and make a difference in this world. This young lady is our validation that our daughter made a difference in this world,” Bart Piper said of Williams.

It was a difference that a stethoscope allowed Rylee’s family to hear.

“To hear Rylee’s heartbeat again, I had the same feeling the day she was born,” Bart said.

Rylee’s heart is making sure Williams is here for her son, Isaiah.

“It has just given me a chance to raise him and to be here with him,” she said.

Bart said Rylee was also an organ donor for three other recipients, including a four-year-old boy. That has Williams and the Malones encouraging people to become donors. Williams also is a volunteer with the American Heart Association, sharing the importance of organ transplants.

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