A brave schoolgirl whose heart condition left her on the brink of death was given a second chance thanks to a transplant.
Jessica Elliott, aged 12, is finally beginning to lead an active life after years of serious illness.
The schoolgirl was born 10 weeks early with a condition where the arteries attached to the heart are the wrong way round.
And when she arrived at hospital for the transplant she was already in a ‘critical condition’ before suffering a devastating stroke.
Mum Michelle Elliott, of Bawtry, near Doncaster, said: “Thankfully the surgery went well, as Jessica was as close to death as she could have been.
“A year on and Jessie is doing so well.
“Sadly the stroke has left her with many difficulties, but she is still here, laughing and as much a part of our life as she always was.
“As a family we are so very grateful to the donor family who gave Jessica the precious gift of life.”
Jessica, who had surgery in Newcastle in April 2012, has inspired her mum to become an ambassador for the British Heart Foundation.
Michelle is encouraging people to sign up as organ donors before the Westfield Health British Transplant Games start in Sheffield on August 15 as part of a foundation campaign.
It adds weight to The Star’s Gift of Life campaign to increase registrations across South Yorkshire by 12,000 signatures.
Michelle, 46, added: “Jessica’s transplant journey is a miracle.
“When we were told the day after Jessica’s birth how serious her heart problems were we were devastated – but also determined to give her every chance of life.
“Jessica was late in reaching all of her childhood milestones.
“She didn’t sit up unaided until she was 18 months and didn’t walk until she was almost five.
“But through her own dogged determination she went to nursery and then primary school, relying on a wheelchair.
“I consider it an honour to support the campaign to encourage more people to sign up to the organ donation register.”
Hundreds of inspirational transplant athletes are to compete in a variety of events at the transplant games.
Readers can also take part in a Star Donor Run at Don Valley Stadium on August 17.
n The Star has teamed up with organisers to give away 50 free places for either the 5K or the 3K routes.
To apply for a free place email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, telephone number and which race you wish to enter.
Visit www.donorrun.co.uk to sign up for the run.
Entry costs £8 or £5.