A St. Maries mother's search to find her 17-month-old son's beating heart finally got a response but one that she didn't expect.
Dacia Cheyney posted a picture of her and Maliki on social media back in October. She hoped it would help her find the parents of the child who received her little boy's heart.
Maliki died after being taken off life support last August. The boy's step-father, Joseph Davis is going to trial in April, accused of the abuse that caused his death.
With some help from a local group that reunites organ donor families with recipients, Cheyney recently got two letters. She hoped the words on the pages would answer, who has Maliki's heart. "Dear donor family, I don't know how to express my gratitude for your child and your brave decision, which saved my sons life and gave him the opportunity to live again," read Cheyney. The two letters where from a mother and father, expressing gratitude for the liver given to their son.
However, the letters she read that night didn't have the answer she was hoping for. It didn't say who has Maliki's heart.
We visited LifeCenter Northwest, the place that works to reunite donor families with recipients. They told us they see this so often, the aching need for a parent who's lost their child to know they live on in someone. "There's lots of great reasons why someone would want to meet the recipient. Obviously, their loved ones legacy has continued and to be able to see that legacy in somebody else is a neat experience," said Scott Wunsch with LifeCenter Northwest.
LifeCenter Northwest does know that Maliki's heart is now giving life to a little girl and that she lives somewhere on the west coast but if and when a reunion will happen is unknown. "Might take days, might take months, might take years," said Wunsch.
We asked Cheyney if she still has hope to receive the letter and she told us she does but until that time, she works to make it through each day.
During the holidays, Cheyney delivered toys to a shelter in Maliki's name. She also often sifts through Maliki's toys and memories that she keeps stored in her own heart, including a stuffed minion toy gift given to her while he was in the hospital that has his recorded heartbeat inside. She's waiting for the day, that just maybe, the small toy that holds the sound of Maliki's heartbeat, will be heard in the little girl who now physically holds Maliki's heart.
Maliki's birthday is coming up in April. Cheyney plans to hold a March for Maliki, during child abuse prevention month.
The march will be on April 9th.
They will meet at the top of the parking garage at the Kroc Center in Coeur d'Alene and walk the trail. The group will be meeting at 2:00 p.m.
If you want to follow or learn more about the walk, you can search Facebook for "Maliki's March."