Brave schoolgirl who underwent heart transplant to honour memory of donor who gave her the gift of life with charity trek
A courageous youngster who underwent a heart transplant at the age of just 12 is set to take on a 25-mile charity challenge in memory of the donor who gave her the gift of life.
Kayleigh Llewellyn will walk along the coast from Gypsies Green in South Shields to the Tommy sculpture in Seaham on July 17 in an effort to raise £1,500 for charity PAPYRUS Prevention Of Young Suicide.
The 13-year-old, from Earl Street, in Seaham, underwent a heart transplant on November 24, 2019 at the Freeman Hospital’s Children’s Heart Unit in Newcastle after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease.
The transplant was a success and after a period in hospital, Kayleigh was able to return home with parents Sonia Llewellyn and Shaun Sidney.
Now Kayleigh is hoping to raise funds in memory of her donor and has already raised £950 towards her target.
On her Virgin Money Giving page she wrote: “In October 2019 I went into heart failure. My heart worked at 8% and got told I needed a heart transplant.
"I spent 10 weeks in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) fighting for my life – 10 operations later I received the greatest gift of all a heart.
Kayleigh will be joined by family and friends along the way, including Kaylee Ann Davidson-Olley, the UK's first successful heart transplant baby, and Sergio Petrucci, from charity the Red Sky Foundation, which raises funds to help provide care for people with heart problems.
Kayleigh, who now wears a ring belonging to her donor around her neck, said: “I am looking forward to it.”
Dad Shaun Sidney said: "We write to the mam of the donor by way of letters and cards and she is a lovely lady.
“We have spoken to them about the walk and they said this charity [PAPYRUS] is close to the family.”
He added: “The donations have been unreal. We have had quite a few anonymous people donate, putting in £50 or £100.”
To donate visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SoniaLlewellyn