Kaylee Davidson-Olley marks 25 years with new heart
- 12 October 2012
- From the section Tyne & Wear
The UK's first baby heart transplant survivor has celebrated a quarter of a century since her historic operation.
Kaylee Davidson-Olley, of Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, was just five months old when she had the operation at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital.
To mark 25 years since the procedure, Ms Davidson-Olley met medical experts from around the world at Newcastle's Centre for Life.
She was joined by 30 other patients who got new hearts aged under a year.
Ms Davidson-Olley, a shop sales advisor, regularly takes part in the World Transplant Games and has spent her life campaigning to get more people on the organ donor list.
She said: "I cannot believe that I am fit and healthy 25 years after my transplant.
"This was only made possible because of the generosity of a family who made that important decision about organ donation, a decision that saved my life.
"Without that family discussing organ donation, I simply would not be here."
In total, 112 babies aged under a year have received new hearts in the UK during the past 25 years.
Consultant paediatric consultant Dr Richard Kirk, based at the Freeman, said that despite awareness campaigns, there was a shortage of baby hearts - two UK babies have died this year waiting for a new organs.
He also said six babies were desperately ill waiting for new hearts.
Dr Kirk said: "We are very proud of Kaylee and urge parents to consider organ donation, despite incredibly difficult circumstances."
Anthony Clarkson, assistant director for Organ Donation with NHS Blood and Transplant, said three people died in the UK every day waiting for an organ transplant.