Emily Lewis

On July 30th, Team Happy Hearts will be pedalling their way through London and the Surrey Countryside, covering 100 miles to raise money for The Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity.

In 2012, our (Gem & Em’s) Mum (Zak’s kind-of-mother-in-law) was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, a rare autoimmune condition in which the body attacks healthy tissue in the organs. The Sarcoidosis left scaring in her lungs and heart, resulting in heart failure. She spent over a month in the Royal Brompton undergoing tests to determine her diagnosis. Since, she has been under the care of specialist Consultants at the Royal Brompton, having regular visit, tests and consultations. Over the last 2 years, her condition deteriorated and in December 2016, she was advised she was nearly out of options for treatment and should prepare for the possibility of a heart transplant. In May this year, after 3 days of extensive tests at Harefield Hospital - the leading heart and lung transplant hospital in the UK - she was advised she was eligible for a LVAD (left Ventricle Assist Device). Mum went to the Harefield Hospital in mid-May and underwent major heart surgery. The surgery went well and to date she is making a good recovery in hospital.

The LVAD is a remarkable piece of technology replaces the job of the hearts pump by sucking blood through the body. The device is attached to the heart and is powered by batteries, external to the body, which is connected by a driveline that exits the body through the abdomen. The Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity supports cutting-edge research into heart and lung conditions, just like the LVAD, as well as providing state-or-the-art equipment and new facilities.

The LVAD is expected to give Mum her life back. Unable to walk 10 meters before surgery, she should once again be able to enjoy playing with her grandchildren and the walking holidays she used to enjoy before she became unwell. The hope is that the LVAD will change her health to the point she becomes eligible for a transplant in the future.

Brompton and Harefield do amazing work, having life-changing effects on many lives. Many of the patients at Harefield are there for several months, waiting for transplants on the critical list. The recovery from both transplants and the LVAD is slow and the patients can be in hospital for a month or more. As a result, there is a great comradery within the small hospital. Staff, patients and visitors become one big, supportive family. It’s not a hospital full of misery and self-pity, it’s a hospital full of hope, companionship, celebration and life.

Please help us raise money for this great charity by clicking the 'Donate' button on this page!

Thank You!

In 2015/16, there were 5,567 active patients on organ transplant lists. Currently, only 36% of the UK’s population are registered as organ donors. Organ donation is not a simple case first come-first-serve. Most registered organ donors will not donate their organs due to cause of death making organs unsuitable for donation. Suitable organs must be matched to those on the waiting list based on a number of variables.
Please help to increase the likelihood of those on transplants lists receiving the organ they need to give them their life back. Register to be an organ donor at:
https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-to-donate/register-your-details/

The UK currently has an opt-in system for organ donation, requiring the thought and action for people to register themselves as donors. Help to make organ donation the norm, not the exception by signing the petition to make it an opt-out system at:
https://www.change.org/p/secretary-of-state-for-health-jeremy-hunt-adopt-an-opt-out-organ-donation-policy-across-the-uk-2

Many people undergoing transplants and any other surgery of any kind, require blood. Please give blood at:
https://my.blood.co.uk/

Emily Lewis