'She is an inspiration' - Schoolgirl given gift of life with new heart celebrates 14th birthday

A courageous schoolgirl who underwent a heart transplant at the age of just 12 has been hailed as an inspiration as she celebrates her 14th birthday.

Kayleigh Llewellyn 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 youngster from Earl Street, in Seaham, has since made an incredible recovery and even established contact with the family of the 19-year-old woman who gave her the gift of life.

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Now as she marks her 14th birthday on June 2, Kayleigh is continuing to raise funds in memory of her donor for charity PAPYRUS Prevention Of Young Suicide as she gets set to take on a charity walk next month.

Heart transplant youngster Kayleigh Llewellyn with parents Shaun and Sonia Llewellyn.
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Proud dad Shaun Sidney said: "We are just amazed in how Kayleigh is progressing going from strength to strength. She is an absolute inspiration.

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“She is doing physio three days a week and is now going to the gym as she is so determined to get back to where she was.

“Nothing has fazed her, she has taken everything in her stride and is pushing to give so much back.

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Kayleigh Llewellyn wears a ring belonging to her heart donor on a necklace.

“As parents we are above and beyond proud.”

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Kayleigh’s charity walk on July 17 will see her set off from Gypsies Green in South Shields and walk 25 miles along the coast to the Tommy sculpture in Seaham.

She 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.

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So far Kayleigh has raised £1,900 towards a target of £2,000 on her Virgin Money Giving page with more funds set to come in as she celebrates another milestone birthday.

Dad Shaun added: “Kayeligh is celebrating her birthday with a day of go-karting with her friends and then the family are meeting at her favourite Toby Carvery in Washington.

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"We have had so many well wishes coming through, it’s amazing.”

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