Courageous Kayleigh astounds the experts with her progress after heart transplant

Courageous Kayleigh Llewellyn is planning a spectacular fundraising feat in 2022 – just two years after her life was saved with a heart transplant.

Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 9:31 am

Kayleigh, now 14, hopes to do a parachute jump to raise money for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund.

It is her way of saying thank you for the gift of life which she got in November 2019 when she had her heart transplant, after being diagnosed with a form

of heart disease called cardiomyopathy.

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Child of Courage Award winner Kayleigh Llewellyn with her trophy in 2021.

Ever since, she has continued to make remarkable progress and only recently went back to hospital for doctors to check on her progress.

"She had her two-year review and they are amazed with how Kayleigh is doing,” said her dad Shaun Sidney. “She is coming on in leaps and bounds.”

Kayleigh, who won a Child of Courage trophy at the 2021 Best of Wearside Awards, is still working on her fitness as she wants to get back to playing her favourite sport of football, as well as netball and going to the gym.

"She will never be 100 per cent and we know that,” said Shaun. “but Kayleigh pushes herself and she is trying every day.”

Kayleigh with her beloved pet, a miniature dachshund called Oscar.

The Seaham High School pupil missed 13 months of school while she was ill but she has caught up and is now doing outstandingly well in her education, said her proud dad.

And although she is not back to full health, she has already raised £4,500 from a fundraising walk in 2021 when her target was £1,500.

"She smashed it and in the next year, she wants to do a parachute jump,” said Shaun.

Sadly, the pandemic has temporarily put paid to one of Kayleigh’s dreams as she and her family had hoped to spend Christmas in New York.

Kayleigh and her brother Liam.

But there has been a consolation. She now has a beautiful pet puppy called Oscar – a dachshund who has become part of the family.

"It is something she has always wanted,” said Shaun.

In the meantime, Kayleigh remains a ‘very savvy’ teenager who is taking the utmost care to stay safe during Covid.

"When she goes to school she always wears a mask and won’t take it off while she is there. She is very head savvy,” said Shaun.

Kayleigh pictured in 2020 with parents Sonia Llewellyn and Shaun Sidney after she returned home following her transplant.

Shaun reflected on Kayleigh’s time in hospital.

"We could not see a light at the end of the tunnel. She went from being a healthy 12 year old to being in intensive care. Our whole world collapsed and, two years down the line, she is back to where she should have been apart from a bit of her fitness to get back.”

Kayleigh and her family are forever thankful to the donor. Shaun added: “We are in regular contact with the donor family and they are amazing.”

He added: “One of Kayleigh’s passions now is promoting and talking about organ donation.”

On the second anniversary of her transplant, she said on Instagram: “Two years with my heart and what an honour that is. I am not only so incredibly grateful for my gift of life and the life I am able to lead because of her, but I am so proud I have been given the opportunity to carry on the legacy of my heart donor.”

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Kayleigh Llewellyn pictured ahead of her charity walk from South Shields to Seaham in 2021.

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