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Racheal: Blessed to Know Son’s Heart Recipient

Nykia Julien and Racheal Taylor share a special connection—something that very few people experience. Racheal’s son Dylan died from a heroin overdose, was able to save lives as an organ donor with Nykia receiving his heart.

“Many addicts don’t feel they have any worth,” Racheal shared. “Organ donation gave Dylan something to leave behind, some worth at the end of his life.”

In January 2020 Racheal and Nykia danced in the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin’s Spotlight on Life Gala to Carrie Underwood’s “I’ll See You Again.” The duo joined forces in this dance-off to spread the message of hope that organ donation brings to people near and far.

“I hope that more people can experience something like this,” Racheal said. “I think it’s amazing. I feel blessed and grateful.”

In 2019, Racheal and Nykia met for the first time after Nykia’s transplant. Nykia wanted to give something to the family to honor Dylan and his family’s sacrifice. At one of her appointments, her doctor gave her an echo recording of her transplanted heartbeat. Nykia put that recording in a Build-A-Bear® and gave it to Racheal so she could always hear Dylan’s heartbeat.

In addition to his heart, Dylan donated both kidneys and lungs, his pancreas and liver saving the lives of others and leaving a legacy as a donor hero.