Brave Evie starts school with a new heart thanks to 'selfless' organ donor
A four-year-old is set to start school with a new heart - after surviving on a mechanical device for more than seven months while awaiting a transplant.
Evie Doherty, who lives near Colchester, had spent so long in hospital waiting for a new heart she could not remember what trees looked like when she was finally allowed to go home.
Her mother Nicole Doherty, 31, has thanked the ‘selfless decision’ of the organ donor saying they feel blessed ‘every single day’ by their actions.
“I’m still in a bit of a dream about her starting school,” she said.
“When we were in hospital, we didn’t even know if she was going to come out.
“All of these milestones that she is coming across and conquering, it’s like a dream come true.
“We owe so much to the family of the donor - thank you will never be enough for the selfless incredible decision they made at their worst time.”
After her parents noticed her breathing had become unusually fast in May 2015, Evie was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition where the left ventricle is enlarged and weakened.
After spending time at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London she was moved to Great Ormond Street Hospital and put on a mechanical Berlin Heart device for seven months. In this time the youngster suffered three strokes which left her without the use of her left side.
After intensive physiotherapy Evie is now able to walk again but has lost her left peripheral vision in both eyes and suffered damage to her kidney and spleen.
Mrs Doherty said Evie was incredibly excited to start school.
She said: “It will be really good for her to learn her ABCs and colours and numbers, obviously she was in hospital for nearly a year between the ages of two and three so academically she is behind her peers.
“When we came out of hospital she asked me what a tree was because she didn’t know, she had been in hospital so long.
“She knew stethoscope and echocardiogram but she didn’t know what a tree was.
“She loves learning new things and taking them on board. She’s really going to enjoy learning in general.”
Mrs Doherty said she would like to encourage more people to sign up for organ donation.