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Friday, 31 October 2014

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A special party for a special occasion

TWELVE months ago Katelyn McAleavy was desperately waiting for a life-saving operation.

This week, the bubbly little girl was joined by friends and family to celebrate her first anniversary of being given a new heart. A party was held at Whitehaven’s Miner’s Welfare Club to mark the occasion.

Amy Lamb, Katelyn’s mum, said the nine-year-old has gone from strength to strength and her family are delighted to hold a party to celebrate.

Katelyn was born with hyperplastic left heart syndrome, which meant that only half her heart worked properly. Since birth, Katelyn had four major operations, including having a pacemaker fitted.

In November 2012, her heart failed again and the only option left was for her to have a transplant.

After a 10-month wait, the family was contacted last August to say a suitable donor was available. The operation took place at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Amy said: “We don’t realise how lucky we are. It’s incredible to think that we got that phone call just in time.”

The proud mum said Katelyn loves to play outside, go to dance classes and eats her out of house and home!

She said: “Katelyn has just bounced back. She has never given up and she’s determined to have as much fun as possible. It still hasn’t sunk in yet that it’s been a year since she had the op.”

Katelyn returned to St Begh’s School part-time just 13 weeks after surgery and went back to school full-time in January.

She also returned to Starkey’s School of Theatre Dance, recently performing in a three-day show at Workington’s Carnegie Theatre.

Amy said: “Karen [Starkey] has been incredible. If it wasn’t for her I don’t think Katelyn would have gone back. Karen has let her do everything at her own pace. When we saw Katelyn up on stage, it brought a tear to our eyes. We are just so proud of her.”

The family say they are going to help Katelyn to write a letter to her donor’s family to say thank you for the best gift anyone can receive - the gift of life.

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