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Friday, 01 August 2014

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You – and McFly! – support Katelyn

THE family of a little girl in need of a life-saving heart transplant have been overwhelmed by community support – which includes an invite to meet McFly at Whitehaven Festival.

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look who I’m going to meet! Katelyn McAleavy with a poster of McFly

Since eight-year-old Katelyn’s McAleavy’s story hit the headlines last week, her family say they have been inundated with messages of support from thousands of people.

As a special treat, Whitehaven Festival organisers have arranged for Katelyn and her family to spend the festival weekend as VIPs and meet McFly.

Her mother Amy Lamb said: “The response has been fantastic. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who is supporting us, especially the Whitehaven Festival for giving Katelyn the chance to see McFly. It’s lovely and it means so much to us.”

Louise Savage, officer manager for the festival, said: “We want to reach out to the community and be able to help and offer comfort. We have always done this and it usually goes under the radar.

“We are inviting Katelyn and her family, as well as other children, who have organ failure and leukaemia and their families to be treated like VIPs for the weekend. They will be in the corporate marquee and we will do everything we can for them over the weekend.”

Katelyn’s family has been stunned by the kindness the community has shown them since their appeal for help.

Over the last eight years, Katelyn has been treated for a serious heart defect – hyperplastic left heart syndrome – which means only half of it works properly.

After four major operations, including having a pacemaker fitted, the family received the devastating news that Katelyn’s heart has failed again. The only option left is for her to have a complete transplant.

Katelyn is top of the national transplant emergency list and the family is waiting for a heart to become available.

Amy says that over the weekend Katelyn’s health has been up and down as she has been quite lethargic.

The family has appealed for people to show their support for Katelyn and sign up to become organ donors, if they can.

Since last Wednesday, members of the public have signed up to the Facebook page, Plea for a new heart: Katelyn's story with around 1,500 liking the page in support, and some have signed up to become organ donors.

“People in over 30 countries are supporting Katelyn via our Facebook page – and One Direction have started following her on Twitter!” said Amy, of Uldale Road, Mirehouse.

The family says major fundraising activities are being planned to raise funds for CHUF (children heart unit fund) at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, where Katelyn has been treated since birth.

St Begh’s School is planning a Big Heart Day on March 15, with all the funds raised going to CHUF.

Katelyn’s grandfather, Steven Lamb, said: “Two of my work colleagues, Steven Gyles and Robert Motley, are doing a sponsored coast to coast to coast 280-mile-round trip on July 6 and 7 from Whitehaven to Tynemouth and back.

“After just three days of setting up the Justgiving page already over £500 has been raised for CHUF (children heart unit fund) and more sponsors have been promised soon.”

The Justgiving page can be found through the Facebook page Plea for a new heart: Katelyn's story .

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