Help Hannah get a new heart and join the donor register

Hannah Cochrane is asking for a new heart
Hannah Cochrane is asking for a new heart

From broken bones to new beginnings

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WHILE many of us are hoping for clothes, books, DVDs and jewellery for Christmas, Hannah Cochrane is asking for a new heart.

The 21-year-old is on the organ transplant waiting list and is urging people to sign the register to help her and others.

The administrator had been healthy all her life until she noticed a change in June 2013.

Hannah, of St Ursula Grove, Southsea, said: ‘I started to lose my appetite, felt sick, lost weight, and couldn’t even climb a flight of stairs without feeling out of breath.

‘After going to the doctor four times, I was referred to Queen Alexandra Hospital.’

Tests revealed her heart was three times the size it should be and was put into intensive care where she was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy.

Now as she waits for a new heart, doctors have inserted an artificial heart pump to keep her alive.

Hannah considers herself lucky because while she waits for a transplant she can lead a relatively normal life.

She said: ‘When I was diagnosed with the problem I was in total shock. It sounds silly but you never think it will happen to you.

‘You might not think about being an organ donor, but when you need to receive an organ then you just want it to be there.

‘Christmas is a time for family and friends full of joy, it’s a celebration of life.

‘Without organ donation, me and many other people may not get the chance to see any more Christmases, fulfil anymore dreams and most of all, just enjoy living.’

Hannah is supporting NHS Blood and Transplant’s The Christmas List, which is encouraging people to sign the register.

Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation, said: ‘Every year thousands of patients on the waiting list in Hampshire and around the country have a Christmas clouded with anxiety and uncertainty.

‘Some severely-ill people might spend the whole of Christmas in hospital, just hoping they get a life-saving transplant.

‘While for others, their condition may mean they can’t enjoy Christmas traditions like the rest of us. For example, people waiting for a kidney transplant may not be able to enjoy a Christmas dinner because eating the wrong food may make them more unwell.

‘There is a shortage of donated organs but if more families agreed to donate a loved one’s organs, more people would get the transplants they need.’

To join, visit organdonation.nhs.uk, or call 0300 123 23 23.

To read The News’ view on this issue click here.