County Durham toddler given 'second chance at life' after heart transplant

A heart transplant has given a two-year-old girl "a second chance" after she spent half of her life in hospital attached to a machine.

Beatrix Archbold-Adamson from County Durham suffered a cardiac arrest when she was one and was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy.

Surgeons at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle saved her life by performing open heart surgery, but Bea had to remain in hospital being supported by a machine known as a Berlin heart.

After 14 months of waiting, the little girl has received a heart transplant.

The lifesaving surgery has given her freedom back, as she no longer requires the machine, that has kept her alive for more than a year.

Her family say they can now look forward to a brighter future, thanks to the bravery generosity of the donor and their family.

Bea's dad, Terry Archbold said: "After so long to receive a call that says there's hope. I don't have the words to describe how that feels.

"It genuinely is the gift of life but it's not just the here and now it is the future. She has hopefully got a long life now ahead of her to enjoy and to live and to honour that gift."

Beatrix spent over a year in hospital. Credit: Family

There are major difficulties for child organ donation in the UK.

There are 53 children currently waiting for a heart transplant but only half of all families agree to organ donation, meaning there are less than 50 donors each year.

Bea's parents know more than most when it comes to organ donation.

Their first-born daughter Isobel was stillborn and they made the decision to donate her heart to medical research.

Beatrix's parents have praised the donor family for their kind and selfless actions. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Bea's mum Cheryl Adamson praised the strength and kindness of the donor's family.

"When I got the phone call with the potential of it happening, I immediately thought about them," she explained. "What they were thinking at that time and what they were going through.

"I just think they are very brave and very selfless. To put another family in a situation where they could have the chance of their child living when you know that your child is going to pass. I just don't have the words.

"They are never far away from our thoughts."

Despite undergoing a major operation, Bea is making the most of her newfound freedom.

"She's getting stronger every day," Mrs Adamson said. "She has a zest for life. I wish I could have the same energy levels as her."

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