​Eight-Week-Old Baby Gets Heart Transplant Just In Time For Christmas

We've all got a bit of a wish list going for Christmas - trainers, clothes, some aftershave or perfume, a nice bottle of whiskey, or even just some much-needed hard cash. But what about a new heart?

That's what Santa's given eight-week-old Charlie Douthwaite, who was desperately in need of a new organ after being born with half a heart in October - and became the youngest patient on the UK transplant waiting list.

A Europe-wide #ANewHeartForCharlie appeal took place to find a matching donor for the tiny baby from Newcastle, who was in a race against time for survival. Eventually he was in luck, and has now undergone a nine hour transplant operation at the city's Freeman Hospital.

His mum, Tracie Wright, 30, thanked the donor family, saying: "They've given my baby a second chance at life, and for that I'll be forever grateful.

"It hasn't quite sunk in that out there somewhere an amazing family gave us that amazing priceless most precious gift that could ever be given.

"In their darkest time they still thought of someone else. They're such special people.

"Thank you just doesn't seem like a big enough word to say to them."

Credit: North West News and Pictures

Born on 2nd October, weighing just 6lbs 5oz, Charlie had to have his first open heart surgery at just three days old.

Doctors had diagnosed him with hypoplastic left heart syndrome before he was even born, discovering the condition at Tracie's 20-week scan. The syndrome means that the left side of the heart can't work properly, as it is underdeveloped, but Charlie also had a narrow aorta with a hole in it, as well as another hole between two of the chambers of the heart.

Tracie and Charlie's dad, Steven, 32, decided to go ahead with the pregnancy. They then launched the #ANewHeartForCharlie appeal, and it quickly went viral.

"We can't describe what Charlie means to us," Tracie added. "He's the most special and precious baby boy.

"He's done well so far. We couldn't be any more proud of him. He's a real life hero, our little warrior."

Tracie says that it's still early days and that Charlie will have to continue to be monitored, currently recovering in Newcastle's Freeman Hospital - so fingers crossed the little guy's on the mend. How's that for a bit of Christmas cheer?

Featured Image Credit: North West News and Pictures

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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