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Space-loving teen with rare heart condition over the moon with NASA goody bag

Some of the signed NASA memorabilia sent to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition
Picture: Neil Perry / Archant

Some of the signed NASA memorabilia sent to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition Picture: Neil Perry / Archant

Archant

A space-loving teenager with a rare congenital heart condition was over the moon after receiving a goody bag from NASA.

Some of the official NASA goods sent from the USA to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition
Picture: Neil Perry / ArchantSome of the official NASA goods sent from the USA to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition Picture: Neil Perry / Archant

Tilly Jennings, 14, of Orchard Row, Felixstowe, has been fascinated by space and astronauts all her life.

She was especially inspired by Tim Peake and his videos from the International Space Station.

Some of the signed NASA pictures and goods sent to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition
Picture: Neil Perry / ArchantSome of the signed NASA pictures and goods sent to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition Picture: Neil Perry / Archant

The teenager, who goes to Felixstowe Academy, was born with a rare heart condition, which has required multiple surgeries during her life.

Her mother Jeanette said: "It is called an Ebstein anomaly.

Some of the signed NASA memorabilia sent to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition
Picture: Neil Perry / ArchantSome of the signed NASA memorabilia sent to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition Picture: Neil Perry / Archant

"She has a very severe case, doctors said it was as severe as it gets, and has undergone 12 surgeries in her life.

"Her initial prognosis was she wouldn't live past a year old, but she is 14 now.

Some of the signed NASA pictures sent to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition
Picture: Neil Perry / ArchantSome of the signed NASA pictures sent to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition Picture: Neil Perry / Archant

"She is amazing, you wouldn't think she has so much to deal with - she is such a positive person.

"She has always been absolutely fascinated with space and is always watching videos of astronauts on YouTube.

Some of the personally signed NASA memorabilia and photos sent to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition
Picture: Neil Perry / ArchantSome of the personally signed NASA memorabilia and photos sent to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition Picture: Neil Perry / Archant

"We didn't know the goodie bag was coming until a couple of days before it arrived. When it turned up we were shocked how much was in it and how personal it was - with messages to Tilly herself."

Tilly attends a Knit and Natter club at the Wool Baa in Felixstowe every Monday and when one of the group, Angie, heard of her passion for space, she contacted a relative who works on computer systems for the American space agency.

Some of the signed NASA memorabilia sent to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition
Picture: Neil Perry / ArchantSome of the signed NASA memorabilia sent to Tilly Jennings who has a heart condition Picture: Neil Perry / Archant

NASA sent a big bag of goodies for the teenager containing all sorts of NASA treats, including signed photographs from current astronauts, t-shirts and stickers.

Tilly said she was delighted to receive the box of goodies and was making something special to send back in return.

"It is just amazing," she said.
"I didn't know what it was at first.
"I like watching astronauts go through their daily routines - it is a whole other world up there.
"I'm fascinated by watching them.

"I don't really have a favourite astronaut but I liked watching Tim Peake.

"I am now making a crochet astronaut to send back to them."

Jeanette said Tilly was about half-way through her crochet.
"She found the pattern online," she said.

"She just wanted to find a way to say thank you and as she is part of a knitting group, she thought that would be the perfect way."


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