Elaine McMahon has bravely shared the story of how a heart transplant changed her daughter’s life forever. We often fail to realise just how much of an impact organ donation has on the families who have been waiting for that call to say they've found an organ that will save their child's life.
The mum shared: “A heart transplant saved our daughters life when she was nine months old. Jessica was born with two major heart conditions. She survived eight months on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit. She was so sick and it was a battle to keep her alive.”
Elaine explained that she practically lived in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital when her daughter Jessica was poorly.
“Our home is in Monaghan, so it was too far to travel and I didn’t want to leave her.”
The family waited and waited for that call and just couldn’t believe it was true when a hospital in the United Kingdom had the perfect match.
“After seven months on the active heart transplant list, the call came early one morning from a hospital in the UK. A matching donor heart became available. It was honestly one of the greatest moments of my life,” the mum gushed.
Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin got her ready and she was flown to the UK for her life-saving transplant.
Ever since her transplant, Jessica has been thriving. “We’ve had three extra special years of pure love and joy with our daughter thanks to organ donation.”
One thing we tend to forget about is the friendships children develop during lengthy hospital stays. The hospital, unfortunately, becomes a second home: “Jessica will miss Carol who cleans her room, Janet, Joanne, Sinead and Marie who serve Jessica fresh food, they all chatted and sang to her.
“She’ll also miss Clair, the play specialist, who always puts a smile on Jessica's face through play therapy. As for all the doctors and nurses who are involved in Jessica's care in the Children’s Heart Centre, they go above and beyond to keep Jessica at the best she can be.”
The mum added: “She lights up when she sees the staff. They’re like family now at this stage.”
Elaine extended a moving message to parents in a similar situation: “To any parent waiting by their child's side while they endure the difficult wait and journey for a heart transplant, hold onto the hope.”
“Sometimes hope is all you have, but it keeps you strong. It makes you think that tomorrow will be better. Sometimes you need that hope to live.”
CMRF Crumlin is the charity fundraising body for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin and the National Children’s Research Centre. They have helped so many poorly children, including Jessica.
At the core of CMRF Crumlin is the belief that every sick child deserves every chance. Whether a child is being treated in hospital or living every day with a life-limiting or chronic illness, we all want them to have every chance to live a happy independent life.
You can donate to CMRF Crumlin here.