Four-year-old attached to mechanical heart finds donor, 16 years after her family donated her sister's heart
The family's selflessness under tragic circumstances was repaid 16 years later as an organ donor saved the life of their four-year-old girl
The selflessness of a grieving family was repaid 16 years after they donated their dead baby daughter's heart when their second daughter who was in desperate need for a heart received a life-saving organ donation just in time to save her life.
In an exclusive conversation with the Mirror, 36-year-old mother Lisa Mallett spoke about the bittersweet moment when she was thankful for her daughter's well being but also heartbroken for the donor's family.
In 2002, after having a fit in the bath, Lisa's one-year-old daughter Jadene suffered severe brain damage and died just a day before her first birthday.
At the time, Lisa and Kevin, her partner, selflessly donated little Jadene's heart valves to a desperate patient. They said the act brought the family "comfort and solace".
Almost 16 years later, Lisa's younger daughter Esme was diagnosed with aortic stenosis, a critical heart condition that required a donor as soon as possible.
Fortunately, Lisa's good deed was rewarded when another family provided her daughter with a new heart. Esme has now returned home, just days after her fourth birthday.
In a conversation with the Mirror, Lisa said: "I couldn't be more humble or grateful that this family did that for Esme. Their child's heart is in my daughter, someone they don't know."
Now, the family is scheduled to appear on ITV's Paul O'Grady's Little Heroes, wherein the presenter goes behind the scenes at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) to bring forth the real story.
Esme, who is four years old now, reportedly spent 10 months at GOSH attached to a mechanical heart as she awaited a transplant. It was during this time that Paul visited her.
Until then, the young girl had already been through a series of life-saving operations and was in surgery for a staggering 28 hours over two weeks.
The presenter visited Esme in her hospital bedroom and took her along for a "walk in the park" — a relatively difficult task for young Esme considering her condition.
Her parents were praying for a return to a life of normalcy as they waited desperately for a new heart. Their prayers were finally answered when they received a heart from a young donor.
Paul said: "It has been an absolute honor to film at GOSH, meeting the children and their families as they go through some of their toughest days. They were truly inspiring. I have so much admiration for the truly dedicated staff who treat and care for them. I can’t wait for you all to meet all the cheeky characters, happy faces and brave families that I had the privilege of meeting."
"I always say, talk to your family about organ donation, so you don't have to make that decision at a time of devastating loss. If something tragic happens, your child could save another one," Lisa added.