Durham Women helped to spread some festive cheer – as a number of our first team squad visited supporter Kayleigh Llewellyn, who recently underwent a heart transplant operation.
Kayleigh is 12-years-old and plays for NSG Panthers as a left-back, and she is very passionate about football.
In October, without any warnings, Kayleigh became very ill with heart problems and was admitted to the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
Over the following weeks, Kayleigh became very poorly and had to have a Vad Pump fitted to the left side of her heart and EMCO machine to the right as her heart was failing.
At the beginning of November, her family were advised that the treatment was not working and they had to make the hardest decision – to place Kayleigh on the emergency transplant register.
Within days a heart was available and Kayleigh went to surgery, but due to poor weather conditions, the heart deteriorated and could not be used.
Kayleigh was then placed in a coma and remained asleep for seven days . While asleep, she went back to surgery to be fitted to a Berlin heart machine to give her a fighting chance as her own heart was down to ten per cent of its capabilities.
But then, on Saturday, November 24 at 11.15pm, Kayleigh was gifted the heart she desperately needed and was in surgery by 11.30pm.
The transplant was a huge success and proved a perfect blood and tissue match.
Over the coming weeks, Kayleigh has continued to amaze the doctors and surgeon with her determination and strength to get stronger. She has now been discharged as an intensive care patient and is now on ward building up her strength and working with the physio team.
And to help Kayleigh over the festive period, a number of our first team squad dropped by to deliver a signed shirt, season tickets and a number of other Christmas gifts – including a promise to train with Kayleigh in the future.
It was a visit which delighted the youngster, who has previously been a mascot for our first team – and was overjoyed to meet her heroes.
“I was over the moon to see the Durham Women players come to see me, as they are a huge inspiration to me and girls like me doing the sport we love,” said Kayleigh.
“I follow the team with passion and I could not believe it when they were here next to me.
“I love my signed shirt and cannot wait to watch and train with them . This was definitely one of highs here in hospital.”