Heart transplant

Geordie Hospital heart transplant star Kit to take on 21-mile fundraising challenge for charity CHUF

Less than a year after falling critically ill, Kit Matthews – the 5-year-old star of Geordie Hospital’s opening episode – is taking part in a 21-mile fundraising challenge to benefit the Children’s Heart Unit Fund.

Kit, who was shown on TV as doctors performed an operation to fit him into a pioneering “Berlin Heart” wearable machine while awaiting a transplant.

A Berlin Heart supports the “pumping” operation while someone is suffering from heart failure.

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Kit – who lives in Retford with his family – was admitted to hospital and transferred to Freeman Hospital in April 2021.

Later that year, he was successfully given a new heart – and now, with the young boy even back in school – he hopes to thank the CHUF charity which has helped him and his family, for 21 weeks in hospital.

With the help of his mom and dad Hannah and Joe and baby brother Monty, Kit will spend February walking, biking, running, swimming and even scootering a mile every day for 21 days.

Hannah and Joe wrote: “During these weeks CHUF provided lifesaving support. Daily life on the ward was made more bearable for a 4 year old with programs such as the Clown Doctors, visits from the ice cream, pizza nights, toys and craft supplies for use in the playroom, and must-have meal vouchers for mom and dad.

“Please sponsor him as he walks, runs, bikes, jogs and swims 21 miles in 21 days – one for every week he spends at the Freeman – so he can give back to this amazing charity .”

Kit’s heartbreaking story was a highlight of Geordie Hospital. Speaking of the TV appearance, Dad Joe said: “Since then he’s gotten stronger and stronger. He’s really shown how really strong he really is and how resilient the kids are. The majority of adults would have even given up.”

Joe – who himself had a heart transplant and competed in the World Transplant Games, added: “He knows exactly what happened to him. I was on VAD and he saw pictures of me in a state similar to what it was before.

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“So he could see that – as I do so well now – it was going to work and it made sense to him.

“He keeps running. We got our Kit back. He’s almost exactly the same, if anything, he’s matured.”

Her family and doctors at the Freeman have both used Kit’s story to talk about the importance of organ donation in saving the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses – Dr Emma Simpson said she hopes that “society would sit down and take notice” of how important he is.

To help fundraise Kit and follow his progress, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/heartninja

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