THE family of a baby girl who was given a new heart after an agonising 11-month wait have thrown their support behind a life-saving organ donor campaign.
Llana Qazi was given only a 10 per cent chance of survival when she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy of the heart.
When her health deteriorated, she was given a Berlin heart – a machine which helps the left side of her heart pump blood around her body – to help keep her alive while a donor was found.
Last year, her family received the news they had been waiting for but the organ was not an exact match or the same size, but her family, desperate to see their little girl well again, took the decision to allow medics to operate.
Llana, who will be two in May, went into surgery on February 29 and, a year on, the youngster still needs specialist care but is battling her way to health with her new heart.
Her family still face an anxious two-year wait to see if her body accepts her new heart.
Her mother, Shaz Qazi, from Dean Road, South Shields, said: “From the moment we were told Llana needed a new heart, we spent every day hoping for someone to come in and give us the news we wanted to hear.
“When we were told about the heart,it was such a tough decision to make. It wasn’t an exact match and was a lot bigger than Llana’s. She was only given a 50 per cent chance but we had to take it.
“As soon as they put the heart in, she suffered a cardiac arrest and her heart stopped for 63 minutes. But the doctors brought her back.
“She is a real miracle baby and, to see her now, we just feel truly blessed.”
Since Llana’s life-saving operation, the family – her mother, father Muhammed and siblings Zermeen, 14, Ahmed, 15, Maria, 20, Jassan, 21 and Saad, 23, – have all signed up as organ donors.
They are giving their support to the In Miley’s Memory campaign
The campaign – supported by the Gazette – was launched last month by the family of 14-week-old baby Miley Turbitt who died in November while waiting for a donor organ.
Mrs Qazi added: “Until you are in that position, organ donation is not something you think about it. But it is so important. Organ donors save lives.”
Since the start of the campaign, a total of 275 people in South Tyneside have signed up to the organ donor register.
Miley’s family are also calling for a change in the organ donation system.
Completed forms should be handed into the Gazette reception in Chapter Row, South Shields no later than March 28.