CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – February is “Heart Month” and brings awareness to people about the effects of heart disease, and the steps you need to take to help your heart. The American Heart Association has benefits all over the country this time of year, and one of them was in Charleston, West Virginia.

More than 200 people gathered at the 2020 Charleston Heart Ball. From physicians to every day West Virginians, everyone was there to support the American Heart Association. People were sharing inspiring stories and talked about how heart disease has affected them and their families.

One of the most unique, and astounding stories of the night was the story of Alecia King and Alicia Petry. Seven years ago, Alicia Petry was 8 months pregnant and suddenly went into cardiac arrest. Doctors had to do an emergency c-section because she flat-lined, and had no heartbeat. She then went into a coma for 2 months. When she eventually awoke, she was finally able to meet her son for the first time.

“When I seen him I just remember crying so hard, and I was telling my mom, “Im a mommy!” -Alicia Petry

However, Alicia’s battle with her heart wasn’t over. Doctors told her that she needed a heart transplant to live. That’s when Alecia King, came into the picture. Alecia lost her daughter, Winter, when Winter was only 18 years old.

Alecia knew that she wanted her daughter’s heart to go to someone who needed it. But she also wanted it to go to a girl, and someone who she thought would represent her daughter. King added, “I might have lost my daughter in physical, and I know I’ll see her again, but she’s living up to what my daughter would have loved and wanted.” 

Alicia’s son is now 7 years old and named Easton. Both Alicia and Alecia say that having the same name is fate, and Alecia considers Alicia her “heart-baby.” They now have a special bond forever, and consider each other family.