Trans­plant pa­tients’ record gath­er­ing

Or­gan pa­tients from Hare­field Hos­pi­tal celebrate decades of life-sav­ing work

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Steve Bax steve.bax@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

HARE­FIELD Hos­pi­tal hosted what is be­lieved to have been the largest gath­er­ing of heart trans­plant re­cip­i­ents in Europe on Sun­day.

The hos­pi­tal, which is one of the world’s lead­ing trans­plant cen­tres, held the event as part of its cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions and to mark Na­tional Trans­plant Week, which started on Mon­day.

An amaz­ing 185 peo­ple, who have re­ceived heart trans­plants or com­bined heart and lung trans­plants, gath­ered at Hare­field.

They in­cluded some of the first trans­plant pa­tients who were treated at Hare­field by worl­drenowned heart sur­geon Pro­fes­sor Sir Magdi Ya­coub in the 1980s, as well as pa­tients who re­ceived life-sav­ing or­gans this year.

Jayne Davis, 70, who made the trip from the Isle of Wight, re­ceived her new heart at Hare­field Hos­pi­tal 20 years ago to the day, af­ter suf­fer­ing sev­eral heart at­tacks in her 30s and 40s.

The re­tired nurse and grand­mother of four said: “I haven’t had any trou­ble with my heart since the trans­plant.

“The past 20 years have been ab­so­lutely fab­u­lous so tak­ing part in the record at­tempt at Hare­field was a nice way to com­mem­o­rate my trans­plant an­niver­sary.

“I had two months to live when I was given the gift of life by a very gen­er­ous per­son and I want to en­cour­age other peo­ple to give this gift too.”

Stephen Syer, 73, had his heart trans­plant at Hare­field Hos­pi­tal in 1984, mak­ing him one of the hos­pi­tal’s long­est sur­viv­ing heart trans­plant re­cip­i­ents.

The for­mer engi­neer from Glouces­ter un­der­went the op­er­a­tion un­der the care of Pro­fes­sor Sir Magdi. He was just hours from death when a heart be­came avail­able.

Stephen said: “I con­sider my­self to be a guinea pig and I’m so glad I was. Thanks to the trans­plant I’ve done ev­ery­thing I wanted to in my life and have been around for the births of my six grand­chil­dren and two great-grand­chil­dren.

“I wanted to show my grat­i­tude by com­ing to­day and to high­light the great work that takes place at Hare­field and the need for or­gan do­na­tion in the process.”

While the ma­jor­ity of the par­tic­i­pants had their oper­a­tions at Hare­field, oth­ers took part in the event who had their trans­plants at other cen­tres in the UK.

Tracey Baker, trans­plant man­ager at Hare­field Hos­pi­tal, said: “We were thrilled to have so many heart trans­plant re­cip­i­ents at the event and thank all the heart trans­plant re­cip­i­ents who came along from all over the coun­try, as far away as New­cas­tle and Cornwall, for their sup­port.

“It was a real team achieve­ment and a won­der­ful way to celebrate 100 years of ded­i­cated work at Hare­field.

“Very im­por­tantly,

it shows that peo­ple who have heart trans­plants go on to live long and healthy lives, and are keen to spread the word about or­gan do­na­tion.

“It’s great for the staff who care for pa­tients at the sick­est time of their lives but don’t of­ten get the op­por­tu­nity to see them at their very best, en­joy­ing life.

“We hope that events like this will en­cour­age mem­bers of the public to sign the or­gan donor register, giv­ing the pre­cious gift of life to those who so des­per­ately need it.”

In 2014-15 the team at Hare­field per­formed trans­plants.

Cur­rently there are more than 60 pa­tients wait­ing for a life-sav­ing heart trans­plant at Hare­field Hos­pi­tal alone.

25 Hos­pi­tal

heart

n BIG HEART: Heart trans­plant re­cip­i­ents gather at Hare­field Hos­pi­tal with Mayor of Hilling­don, Ge­orge Cooper; (left) re­tired nurse Jayne Davis and Stephen Syer, one of Hare­field’s long­est sur­viv­ing trans­plant re­cip­i­ents

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