The North Tyneside woman helping others after major open heart surgery

Calli Tully_personal photo_2022
Calli Tully had major surgery in 2017 but is fit and well and now helping others. Credit: Personal photo

A 24-year-old woman from North Tyneside says having major open heart surgery was the worst experience of her life but changed her as a person.

Calli Tully now dedicates as much time as she can helping lift the spirits of others who find themselves in a similar position.

She was born with a VSD-hole in her heart and at the age of 17 an MRI scan revealed a muscle mass putting her heart at risk so they needed to remove it.

Now, her free time is spent collecting presents, donations and putting together goodie bags for those who are in hospital and cannot be with their families at special times of the year.

With it being Easter, Calli has been taking chocolate eggs and gifts for those at the Freeman Hospital Heart Unit, and every Christmas since 2017 she has dropped off presents.

Now fit and well, Calli fundraises and works with local businesses to make the gifts as special as possible.

She says, "It was the worst experience of my life, but I’m glad it’s happened as it’s turned me into a completely different person. I see life in totally different way now, you just never know what is around the corner. 

"It’s very emotional going back onto the ward as it brings back a lot of memories from when I was in, but seeing the children's faces light up when they see all the presents and balloons makes it all worth while."