Knaresborough teenage receives new lease of life after heart transplant

Knaresborough teenager Amelia Annear has been given a ‘new lease of life’ after receiving a heart transplant.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 6:11 pm

She is just one of 271 people in Yorkshire whose lives were saved by an organ transplant in the last year, despite the strains put on the NHS through Covid, according to the Transplant Activity Report from NHS Blood and Transplant.

Amelia was only 16 when she suffered heart failure. The musical theatre student had started feeling unwell with heart palpitations in October 2019 and collapsed at home one breakfast time in February 2020. Amelia spent time in and out of the hospital during 2020 until she was eventually told that she would need a heart transplant. The active dance pupil had to put her studies on hold, including giving up the lead in the show she was rehearsing for, and spent much of the year in hospital, at times not being able to see her parents due to the pandemic.

She received her new heart in February 2021. Amelia said: “I was really relieved that I was able to get a heart and to have survived the transplant. It just feels amazing. I feel like a little kid again. I feel different because I’ve been so poorly. It’s like a new lease of life. It is like being given a second chance.”

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The number of families giving consent/authorisation for organ donation to go ahead has risen this year, from 68% to 69% overall for donation across the UK. This is particularly significant, as with many relatives often unable to visit or be with their loved ones in hospital, consent for organ donation was even more difficult for families as these sensitive conversations often had to be done virtually rather than face to face.

Amelia was given the chance to find out more about her donor. She said: “I decided to write a letter to the donor’s family and just say thank you. They’ve quite literally saved my life by choosing to donate organs. As my letter got sent off, I got one back from the donor’s family telling me more about my donor which was so comforting to hear. We are so alike and share a lot of the same interests. It was amazing the likenesses and interests that we have and I wanted to make the family aware that I wasn’t going to waste the gift that they have given me. I’ve been given something amazing.”

In total, 3,391 people in the UK had their lives saved thanks to 1,180 people donating their organs after death.

John Forsythe, medical director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “This past year has been completely unprecedented in the history of the NHS, as well as in our wider society. So, the fact that 271 people in Yorkshire received an organ transplant is amazing. Each one of us in the wider clinical team of donation and transplant, across the UK, are immensely proud of the work to keep organ donation and transplants happening in the most challenging circumstances.”

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