In January 2012 Rachel aged 7 was a little under the weather, we took her to our local GP who said she had a heart murmur, nothing to worry about and made a follow up appointment. The next day Rachel was puffy and out of breath, we took her to our local A&E where they blue lighted her to the Freeman Hospital, we where taken a side and told Rachel was in end stage heart failure and they would do all they could to slow it down. Our lives stopped and all we could do was hope that Rachel would make an improvement. Sadly Rachel continued to get worse and worse and just over 3 weeks after being admitted on the 1st February she was place on the emergency heart transplant list, Rachel continued to get worse and on the 9th February she was taken to PICU and placed on life support. The next day on the 10th February we got the call and Rachel received her gift of life, this is the hardest part, knowing that for my child to live another family had to go through what I don’t to the loss of a loved one. Rachel celebrated her 8th birthday in hospital. Rachel fought back and was able to come home after 3 weeks.

Rachel has celebrated her 3rd heart day, we go to the Angel Of The North each year to release balloons in memory of Rachel’s donor and to give thanks to Rachel’s donor family.

In March 2014 Rachel and her sister Kate Set up, Hearts That Matter UK A Facebook and Twitter page  to promote Organ Donation, to show Rachel’s transplant journey and how organ donation effects the whole family and raise money for Chuf the charity attached to the children’s cardio department.

Enjoy life to the FULL, to do as many things as possible and try new things. (Rachel’s words)

Lynn Holt spoke to Rachel about the British Transplant Games after she had been placed on the Organ donor list. Rachel was 6 months post transplant when she attended her first games in Kent 2012. Rachel was awarded the Best Newly Transplanted athlete cup. She smiled the whole weekend.

Rachel has attended three games and this will be her fourth in her home town.

Rachel likes to swim, Cup stacking, 50 metres run. For the first time she has entered the 3km cycle which she is really looking forward to ( her dad is a keen cyclist) Rachel for the first time is entering  the donor run (walk due to health) in memory of her donor.

The games support Rachel’s wellbeing as she loves being part of the Freeman Team, trying different sports, being with people that have similar experiences as she has.

For Rachel’s health swimming supports her lungs, and helps strengthen her legs. (She has hyper mobility syndrome and a low immunity to infection) most importantly for Rachel having fun and hopefully winning a medal. She also enjoys dressing up for the Gala night.