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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Katelyn’s transplant message

A BRAVE Whitehaven girl is one of the 21 Cumbrians who received life-saving organ transplants last year.

The family of Katelyn McAleavy say her life has been transformed thanks to the vital heart transplant she received last August.

Katelyn’s mum, Amy Lamb, of Uldale Road, said: “Katelyn’s back at school, she’s going to dance classes and she’s riding her bike. She’s doing everything she was doing before but she is a lot more energetic.

“She is doing incredibly well and we are all so proud of her.”

Katelyn (pictured) was born with hyperplastic left heart syndrome, which meant that only half her heart worked properly.

Since birth, she had four major operations, including having a pacemaker fitted. In November 2012, her heart failed again and the only option left was a complete transplant.

After a 10-month wait on several emergency transplant lists, the family was contacted in August to say a suitable donor had become available, and the operation took place at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary. She returned to St Begh’s School in November.

Amy said the family had a fantastic Christmas and they are looking forward to the year ahead. They are helping nine-year-old Katelyn write a letter to her donor’s family to say thank-you.

Amy said: “It’s hard to put into words how thankful and grateful we are and how much of a loss it is for them.”

The family is also continuing to promote the need for people to become organ donors, as they know how important it is.

Amy and her mother will be doing the Hadrian’s Wall walk this year, in aid of the British Heart Foundation. They are also looking to organise other fundraisers.

The NHS Blood and Transplant service has released figures showing that 21 people received life-saving organ transplants last year, in a bid to highlight the importance of the scheme and encourage more people to register.

So far, there are 65 people in Cumbria waiting for a transplant and 25 Cumbrians have died in the past five years because of a shortage of organs.

Anthony Clarkson, acting director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We know that Christmas period is a time for enjoying ourselves and talking about the nice things in life like future holidays. But for people in need of an organ, this is a very difficult time so we are urging everybody to talk about organ donation.”

For more information about the NHS Blood and Transplant Service go to www.nhsbt.nhs.uk.

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