Anniversary joy for heart-transplant Kaylee

Kaylee Davidson-Olley celebrating the 25th anniversary of her heart transplant. She was five months old when she had the operation at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, in October 1987. Pictured with step father Stephen Olley and mum Carol  Olley.
Kaylee Davidson-Olley celebrating the 25th anniversary of her heart transplant. She was five months old when she had the operation at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, in October 1987. Pictured with step father Stephen Olley and mum Carol Olley.
1
Have your say

MIRACLE transplant baby Kaylee Davidson-Olley is preparing to celebrate a quarter of a century since her historic operation.

The Houghton woman became the first UK baby to successfully survive a heart transplant when at five months old, she underwent the procedure at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Despite experiencing such trauma at a young age, Kaylee has gone on to lead a normal life, combining work as a sales adviser at Marks & Spencer and competing in the World Transplant Games, while also studying at college.

Ahead of the anniversary, Kaylee, 25, speaking as she met 30 other transplant patients, said: “I cannot believe that I am fit and healthy 25 years after my heart 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.

“I hope that my own story and that of all the children at this special event will encourage others to be involved, if only to just talk about organ donation with their family.”

During the past 25 years, 112 babies aged under one year have received new hearts in the UK.

Kaylee’s loving mum Carol Olley said: “We were in the right place at the right time 25 years ago, and will forever be grateful to the medical team who saved her life and also to the donor family.

“Kaylee has spent her life campaigning so that others can have the same opportunity as her – the gift of life itself.

“We are very proud of her achievements and as a mother I am thankful for every day of her life.”

Kaylee and her family have been passionate supporters of the NHS Organ Register and since her transplant they continue to encourage more people to open discussions with their families about organ donation.

Despite increases in donor register numbers week, there are six babies in the UK who are in urgent need of a new heart.

Dr Richard Kirk, based at the Freeman, said that there was still a shortage of baby hearts - with two UK babies having died this year waiting for a new organs.

Dr Kirk said: “We are very proud of Kaylee and urge parents to consider organ donation, despite incredibly difficult circumstances.”

There are currently around 10,000 people in the UK who need an organ transplant and three people die every day waiting.

To join the Organ Donor Register go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk, call 0300 123 23 23 or text SAVE to 84118.

Twitter: @davidallison88