Kaylee Davidson-Olley (born 1987) was the United Kingdom's first successful heart transplant baby when she received a replacement heart at less than one year of age. In 2017 she celebrated her 30th year after the transplant operation; it was her 30th year as the longest surviving heart transplant baby in Europe. The operation was performed by cardiothoracic surgeon, Christopher McGregor at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, which became one of only two UK centres performing transplants in children, and the main hospital in the UK carrying out transplants for adults born with congenital heart disease.

Kaylee Davidson-Olley
Born1987 (age 36–37)
Known for

She went on to become an advocate of the organ donor register and in 2013 won the gold medal for the 4 × 100 metres relay race at the World Transplant Games.

Early life edit

Kaylee Davidson-Olley was born in 1987. She was raised in Houghton-le-Spring, County Durham.[1] Her mother is Carol Olley.[2]

As an infant, she was diagnosed with a cardiomyopathy and for six weeks prior to her heart transplant, was severely ill in the Freeman Hospital's intensive care unit.[2][3]

Heart transplantation edit

Davidson-Olley's heart transplantation was performed on 14 October 1987[2] by surgeon Christopher McGregor at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle,[4] when Davidson-Olley was either four[3][5] or five months old.[6] McGregor had previously transplanted a heart into an adult woman in May 1985, the recipient surviving for 25 years.[1]

Ten days after the transplant operation, the media were allowed admission to the intensive care unit where Davidson-Olley was a patient.[7]

Subsequently, the Freeman Hospital became one of only two centres in Britain performing transplants on children, and the main hospital in Britain carrying out transplants for adults born with congenital heart disease.[1]

Advocacy edit

Davidson-Olley has campaigned on behalf of the organ donor register, saying in her 25th year of survival that she was only alive "because of the generosity of a family who made that important decision about organ donation, a decision that saved my life".[2]

In 2013, at the World Transplant Games in Durban, South Africa, she ran the 4 × 100 metres relay and won the gold medal.[2][8]

In 2017, Davidson-Olley observed the 30th anniversary of the heart transplant procedure and her 30th year as the longest surviving heart transplant baby in Europe.[1] To celebrate, she and the staff from the Freeman Hospital, members of families of people who have had transplants, the president of the World Transplant Games Federation and her surgeon, took the "Walk for Life", starting at Baltic Square, stopping at the Copthorne Hotel and then making their way across Newcastle's Millennium Bridge.[1][4] McGregor stated that he had "followed Kaylee's progress and achievements over the last 30 years" and was "delighted to walk with Kaylee and share her special day and the success of the paediatric heart and lung transplant programme".[1][9]

In May 2019, she was named as one of four local heroes that had their name cast in a bronze plaque, to be placed permanently by the River Tyne.[10]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Hutchinson, Lisa (14 October 2017). "Longest surviving transplant woman celebrates incredible 30 YEARS since life-changing op". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Morton, Dave (15 October 2015). Newcastle in the Headlines. Amberley Publishing Limited. ISBN 9781445647791.
  3. ^ a b "Newcastle Hospitals – Kaylee Davidson transplant". www.newcastle-hospitals.org.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b Team, Transplant Aus (17 October 2017). "A message from our CEO". Transplant Australia. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  5. ^ Fullick, William; Fullick, James (2023). "3. The heart of the matter". Organs, Systems, and Surgery. Oxford University Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-19-886187-4.
  6. ^ "The First Baby to Have a Heart Transplant – 31 Years On". Cecilia-Joy. 18 November 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  7. ^ ITV News (18 January 2019), TT60 – Your stories, shared by us | ITV News, retrieved 5 May 2019
  8. ^ Nelson, Barry (13 August 2013). "Kaylee wins gold, 25 years after becoming world's first heart transplant baby". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  9. ^ "World Transplant Games Federation | MEDIA RELEASE: Kaylee's Walk for Life". 13 October 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  10. ^ Brooke-Battersby, Jack (14 May 2019). "Local Heroes honoured with plaques along Quayside walk of fame | Newcastle City Council". www.newcastle.gov.uk. Retrieved 18 May 2019.