Second heart transplant for Emily

A NEW heart is the best Christmas present teenager Emily Gentry could have ever hoped for.

A NEW heart is the best Christmas present teenager Emily Gentry could have ever hoped for.

Today, the 13-year-old is set to enjoy the festive season with a new lease of life thanks to her second heart transplant.

Her joy is a far cry from Christmas 2007 when medics warned that she was at risk unless the complicated operation took place.

When Emily, who suffered from a life threatening heart condition, was six she had her first heart transplant.

But due to complications, medics warned that she would need another this year to survive.

After enduring her second transplant, Emily, of Mallard Way, Ipswich, is on top of the world and looking forward to returning to life as a normal teenager.

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It has just been a few weeks since she underwent the complex surgery but already she is noticing the difference, most notably being able to walk further without feeling breathless.

Emily said: “I had just accepted my condition but was so shocked when I heard about the organ donor.

“I couldn't do much without getting tired and breathless. I just wanted to be like my friends.

“Now I can go swimming again which will be nice as I haven't been able to do any exercise.

“I am looking forward to going back to school and being with all my friends again.”

The 13-year-old, who has ambitions to be a marine biologist and loves reading and writing, hopes to be back to Chantry High School by the end of January next year and is looking forward to spending a quiet Christmas at home with her loving parents Marie and Mark.

It was on November 13 when the call came to say a heart had become available - and mum Mrs Gentry remembers the moment as if it was yesterday.

With their bags already packed, the family headed straight to Great Ormond Street in London and that night, Emily had her second life saving operation.

Mrs Gentry said: “It is all a bit of a blur but we were just so happy to get that call. We never thought it would happen.

“We would just like to say a big thank you to the donor and their family - whoever they are, and to all the other donors out there.

“It means such a lot to people like Emily.

“Fingers crossed this will be the last heart she needs.

“We would say to people please sign the donor register to give other people like my daughter the gift of life and hope for the future. “The more people that sign up, the more lives that can be saved.”

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EMILY was just six when she had her first heart transplant, required after she suffered a virus that led to the heart disease dilated cardiomyopathy.

A new heart was found within weeks and she had the life saving surgery on July 16, 2001. However, the heart was not reacting well with her body and rejected it four times.

Her fortunes changed when began working properly after some time and she was able to start enjoying life again.

She was praised as The Evening Star's Kid In A Million in 2001 but she never fully recovered as her condition prevented her from taking part in PE at school.

She also needed a wheelchair for long distances as she was out of breath frequently.

Last year her condition started to deteriorate and in August this year it was discovered that a second transplant was necessary as Emily's new heart had developed severe coronary artery disease.

She was re-listed for a transplant and once again the family had an anxious wait to see if a compatible heart would become available. She had a severely shortened life expectancy, and they could see her rapidly deteriorating quality of life.

In November the family received the call they had only dreamed of - that a possible heart match had been found.

Four hours later and she was on the operating theatre in Great Ormond Street, where she underwent intensive surgery for seven hours.

Ten days later she was back home and is now making a remarkable recovery.

The Gentry family would like people to consider giving the gift of life this Christmas by getting a donor card. There are more than 8,000 people waiting for a transplant right now. Due to the shortage of donors, 1,000 of those will not be as lucky as Emily and will die next year.

You can register online as an organ donor at or by phoning 0845 6060400.

To find out more about organ donation and how you can support Live Life Then Give Life visit

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