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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Nationwide appeal to find new heart for Cumbrian girl, 8

The family of a young girl faces an anxious wait for the heart which could save her.

Heart girl photo
Amy Lamb with Katelyn McAleavy

Katelyn McAleavy, eight, of Whitehaven, has a serious heart defect with her only hope a complete transplant.

The St Begh’s primary pupil has had four major operations but her heart has failed again.

Grandmother Joy Lamb said: “Katelyn has has taken it all in her stride, the operations come as second nature to her but we are running out of time.”

The family’s world was turned upside down following a routine check-up at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital in November where staff monitor Katelyn’s rare condition – hyperplastic left heart syndrome.

“We went for a six-month check-up and they said her heart was failing. It was a huge shock,” said Katelyn’s mother, Amy Lamb, of Uldale Road, Mirehouse.

Katelyn was placed top of the national transplant emergency list and all the family can do is wait for a heart to become available.

Amy said: “We’re just waiting for a phone call about a donor. That’s all we can do. Katelyn is still going to St Begh’s School. The staff have been wonderful. She has lived a full life, she’s gone to Brownies, Rainbows and swimming. She went to Karen Starkey’s dance class for three years.

“We have never wrapped her up in cotton wool. She is struggling to do what she used to as she gets tired quite easily. But she always lets us know how she’s feeling and she does things at her own pace.”

This week Katelyn was taken into West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven with circulation problems. She remained in hospital yesterday.

As this month is National Heart Month, the family want to highlight the need for people to sign up to become heart donors.

Katelyn’s grandfather, Steven Lamb, said: “It’s a difficult subject for people to talk about.”

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