Today, Sunday 29th August, marks a very special milestone for Patricia Davies as she celebrates 25 years since receiving a new heart.
In Manchester, 1996, at the age of 54, Patricia underwent a heart transplant. 25 years later, Patricia is 79 and living well surrounded by her family. Patricia even shares this special day with her youngest grandson Alfie, who turns 12 today.
Here, daughter Colette shares their journey:
“Mum became ill at the age of 53 and suddenly collapsed. She was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition we had not really heard of this at the time. My mum was put on medication to reduce the workload on her heart. During this time her brother Dennis developed similar symptoms, but sadly passed away.
It was then that we realised it may be hereditary.
I contacted my uncle to get my mum’s sister’s death certificate (who had passed away aged 24 of heart disease), which revealed dilated cardiomyopathy. Mum was broken-hearted about her beloved brother and the family he left behind, and her condition got rapidly worse.
The consultant at the time was dismissive at the suggestion that my mum was so ill she should be considered for a heart transplant. I was determined to get Mum the help she needed so I contacted another consultant who recommended Dr Dave Ramsdale. He saw my mum two days later and said she had approximately three months to live without a transplant. She was fast-tracked to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester and after 11 days they found a heart which was ultimately successful.
Patricia pictured six days after her surgery.
My mum looks after her heart and has been a model patient. She has used her own experience to support and encourage other patients waiting on the transplant list - at Wythenshawe Hospital’s request. Mum is a true warrior and we love her dearly. Since her transplant she competed in the 2002 British Transplant Games in Loughborough- winning Silver in Shot Put and Volleyball!
Patricia at the British Transplant Games
The whole family had genetic screening- they opened a hospital ward solely for us in Liverpool. My brother Andy, mum’s siblings, my aunty and my cousin’s sons all carry the BAG3 gene and some have had ICD’s fitted. Fortunately, I don’t have the gene.
We are so proud of her and all her achievements and resilience throughout her life. We will celebrate 25 years of her heart transplant by listening to rock and roll- the same music Dr Campbell played during her operation.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the donor family, as without them Mum would never have lived to see her beloved grandchildren grow up and have their own children.
We would also like to thank Cardiomyopathy UK and Wythenshawe Hospital for all their tremendous support over the last 25 years - you have all been amazing. Thank you so much."
If you’re fit and healthy, then donating your organs is likely to be the last thing on your mind – but it’s a vital decision you can make now that could save lives in the future.
If you would like to speak to someone about genetic testing or organ donation, you can also call our Helpline on 0800 018 1024 and speak to one of our cardiac specialist nurses.