Young woman from Penzance makes podcast about her heart transplant experience

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A young woman from Penzance has launched her own podcast series after having a pioneering heart transplant at the age of just 20.

Eliza Bell had been told she only had a year to live due to a rare condition. 

But she underwent surgery at a specialist hospital where surgeons are now able to transplant hearts after they've stopped beating.

Since then Eliza has raised £18,000 towards transplant equipment, and is using her experience to help others still waiting for transplants. 

Credit: Eliza Bell

A rare genetic illness called Danon's disease meant Eliza was suffering from heart failure.

She became one of 90 people to have had a non-beating heart transplant at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. 

Since then she says she has been finding ways to help others needing transplants:

"I felt there was a resource missing when I was going for my transplant there was no-one who had had a transplant that I could talk to so I was only getting information from nurses and doctors so I decided to use my time wisely in lockdown one and start a podcast to help other transplant patients.''

The podcast is called Transplant Chats with Eliza and is now launching a second season where Eliza has collaborated with the Royal Papworth Hospital.

''Even if say one person listens to the podcast and decides that they want to donate their organs when they pass that's enough for me to be like that podcast was worth it.''

Since a law change in May where organ donation became something you opt out of - the NHS Blood and Transplant service wants more of us to talk to our families about it.

Eliza says she feels incredibly lucky to have been able to find a donor at the right time.

''I may not be here right now and I was so close to death so I will be always eternally grateful to my donor and the donors family as well as the transplant team.''

She is now preparing to go to university and study to become a nurse.