Heart transplant

Teenager receives gift of life with pre-Christmas heart transplant delivers touching gift to donor’s family

A teenage girl whose life was saved by a heart transplant just before Christmas is about to give a precious gift to the family of her donor.

Kayleigh Llewellyn was just 12 when she underwent a life-saving transplant at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital after being diagnosed with a heart condition called cardiomyopathy.

This Christmas, young Seaham will mark the second anniversary of receiving her incredible gift of life by paying tribute to her 19-year-old donor, Sinead Bree.

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The 14-year-old will be traveling to see Sinead’s family in Doncaster to give them a stuffed elephant with her heartbeat recorded inside.

In a moving Instagram post, Kayleigh said, “Two years with my heart and what an honor it is.

“I am not only incredibly grateful for my gift of life and the life I can live because of it, but I am so proud to have had the opportunity to continue the legacy of my heart donor Sinead.

“I live for her as much as I live for myself.”

Kayleigh’s proud parents Shaun Sidney and Sonia Llewellyn can’t believe how far their daughter has come to recovery since having the operation in November 2019.

Shaun said, “She’s doing great. The last two years have passed.

“To mark the anniversary, we took flowers from the tree she has for Sinead in the cemetery and left them there as a tribute to her.

“She always thinks of organ donation. She is a registered donor herself and we are so proud that she did.

“She has made up for all the schoolwork she missed over the past 13 months and the school is absolutely in awe of her,” he continued.

“She shines like a star everyday for us.

“She never moans or complains. She gets up, goes to school, does her homework and trudges along.”

Kayleigh first met the donor’s family in person last summer after exchanging letters.

Kayleigh is on a mission to raise awareness about organ donation and hopes her story will encourage others to sign up to donate.

“I’m not talking about organ donation because it’s a cool story or as something to warm you up on the inside, but because it’s a rare medical fate that relies solely on the kindness of others,” she said on Instagram.

“This cannot be done without donors and donor families.

“There aren’t enough organs for those who need them.

“I want others to receive their gift of life, [but] some [people] who desperately need them will not get them because of it.

“So I urge you to enjoy the stories you hear and start a conversation about organ donation.”

She continued, “I am grateful for everything; my donor, her family, the doctors and nurses, the surgeons, my friends and my family.

“I am grateful that I can enjoy life again, for as long as possible.”

The family thanked Seaham High School for their support during Kayleigh’s recovery.

To register as an organ donor, visit: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-your-decision/donate/

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