Rach Shelley

Rach Shelley

As an otherwise healthy 26year old I had minimal access surgery to repair my mitral valve on 11/11 last year, and was brought out of sedation a month later to find I’d had about 6 operations, been on ecmo and had had a BIVAD fitted. I was unable to move very much, couldn’t eat and had a tracheostomy so couldn’t talk.

Consultants hoped my heart may recover, but it was too damaged to regain function.

I went on the very urgent list on Christmas Eve last year. It was a very hard Christmas for all the family, I was so helpless. Luckily I received a heart (in the knick of time as my BIVAD was infected and leaking regularly) on the 10th Jan this year.

My donor was only 16, which means my new heart is perfect –  but it is very sad to think of my donors family facing a Christmas without their loved one.


This Christmas I’ll be thinking of any people living without loved ones and those ill in hospital. Me and family will never forget my donor family’s selflessness and the chance it has given my to carry on living!

Rach Shelley graphic

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