Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Louisville mom hears lost daughter's heart beat in sick Chicago boy's chest

From Courier Journal

Allison Ellis, grandmother of Karlie Mellick, listens with a stethoscope to Karlie's heart inside of Faris Samara of Chicago, as Faris' mom, Siham watches. Photo courtesy of Kosair Charities

Not a day goes by that Kara Mellick doesn’t mourn the loss of her baby, killed three years ago by a man she had trusted.

But Mellick found some solace Tuesday, when she put a stethoscope to her ears and heard little Karlie’s heart beat again — in the chest of a young Chicago-area boy who would have died without it.

Suddenly, Mellick said, she was moved to tears by memories of being pregnant and hearing her baby’s heartbeat for the first time.

“I feel she is still living. She is not gone,” Mellick, 23, said by phone from Illinois. “Her body is gone, but her heart is still there.”


Faris’ mother, Siham “Sam” Samara, calls Karlie is the “angel” who saved her son. Faris was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, in which parts of the left side of the heart fail to completely develop.

He was near death from heart failure when he received Karlie’s heart at 11 months old. Now, he’s a healthy, active 3-year-old who loves to dance, share storybooks with his parents and watch Elmo and Barney on television.

“I want Kara to know that what she did is so brave,” said Samara, 41, of Hanover Park, Ill. “I want her to know that her child will always be an angel for us. We feel Karlie is such a part of our family.”

When she met Mellick on Tuesday, Samara said she whispered in her ear: “I’m sorry for what you went through. I’m sorry Karlie had to die so my son could live.”

Watching Mellick listen to her son’s heart, Samara said she let go of the guilt she’s carried since the transplant, and “it brought a lot of peace in my life.”

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