Georgia, 4, from Peterborough, spending second Christmas on NHS transplant list waiting for a heart

Four-year-old Georgia Kirchin is spending her second Christmas on the transplant list waiting for a new heart.
Four-year-old Georgia Kirchin is spending her second Christmas on the transplant list waiting for a new heart. Credit: NHSBT

A four-year-old girl faces her second Christmas waiting for a new heart - as her family wonder how many more they will get to spend with her.

Georgia Kirchin got a doctor's kit from Santa last year and regularly offers treatment to her toys.

But, 12 months on, the Peterborough schoolgirl is still waiting for her own life-changing surgery.

Georgia has a heart condition called aortic stenosis - meaning the blood-flow is restricted - and needs a new heart to save her life.

More than 5,000 people will spend this festive season on the transplant list in England and Wales and the NHS is urging families to talk about organ donations to help save lives.

Georgia Kirchin in hospital Credit: NHSBT

Jodie Kirchin, Georgia's mum, said the family was determined to enjoy this Christmas because they knew it could be her last one if a donor was not found.

“We don’t know how many more Christmases we’re going to get," she said. "It’s hard because you think is this the last time we’re going to do this, will we be looking back on this as a memory soon?

“When you think you might have limited time, it’s hard. We try and take each day and carry on as normally as possible, we keep positive and really value everything."

She said - just like last year - the family's Christmas wish was for Georgia to get a new heart so they could begin making plans for the future.

Organ transplant list: How many are on it?

  • East of England - 358

  • London - 1,230

  • The Midlands - 1,049

  • North East and Yorkshire - 795

  • North West - 684

  • South East - 632

  • South West - 436

  • Wales - 209

Mrs Kirchin said her little girl had deteriorated over the last 12 months. She feels tired more easily and is eating less. Winter - and the pandemic - has left them constantly worrying about her picking up an illness and having to go into hospital.

Georgia struggles to understand why she cannot run around at school like her friends and often asks when she will get her knew heart.

But the family - including big sister Millie, who last year asked Father Christmas for a heart for Georgia - are determined to stay positive.

Georgia Kirchen with her big sister Millie. Credit: NHSBT

Mrs Kirchin and her husband Adam urged parents to think about organ donation for their whole families - no matter how tough the conversation may be.

"Adam and I have always been on the register but you don't think about it for your children," she said.

"It must be devastating to have a Christmas without one of your children there. A family agreeing to organ donation can stop another family going through that."

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, added: "We know that for many thousands of people across the UK, the greatest gift they could receive this year will be a phone call telling them that a donor has been found for them.

"Please let you family know your organ donation decision and leave them certain of your decision."

In May 2020, the laws around organ donation were changed meaning people now have to opt out of the system.

But families will still be consulted by doctors before any donation goes ahead and NHS Blood and Transplant said it was important relatives knew their loved ones' wishes.

While families are more likely, and find it easier, to support donation when they already know it is what their loved one wanted, only 42% of the UK population have registered their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and just 37% say that they have shared their organ donation decision with their family.