Nov 27, 2014 23:37 By Alun Palmer Mirror Online
Her loved ones are desperately praying for good news that can mean only heartbreak for another family.
Teenager Chloe Beaney is seriously ill in hospital waiting for a new heart, and she may have just days to live.
She is at the top of the transplant waiting list, but it is a race against time until a suitable organ is found.
And in an emotional appeal, her mum Catriona is begging parents to let the organs of their children be donated in a chance to save her 14-year-old daughter’s life.
Voice choking with emotion, Catriona says: “When she first needed a transplant Chloe said how sad she was for the other family.
“But we have always made her aware that it is very special people who are happy to donate their organs.
“And yes, it is a very difficult time but some good can come from it.
Chloe Beaney, 14 from Cramlington,
“I would love her home for Christmas but I’m not sure that will happen now unless we get a donor extremely quickly.
“It would be the best Christmas gift if somebody could give my daughter life. It would be perfect… it’s all I want.”
Doctors have warned that Chloe could die at any moment without a transplant in the next two weeks.
Now her mum is pleading with people to talk to their loved ones about their wishes on organ donation should the very worst happen.
She says: “It’s really important for people to tell their families because somebody else’s misfortune, someone’s sudden death, can give my daughter life.”
In the intensive care unit at Freeman Hospital’s Institute of Transplantation in Newcastle a few cards and pictures on the wall brighten up the stark medical surroundings for Chloe.
A fan of One Direction and vlogger Alfie Deyes, she remains bright and bubbly but is a little shy at the attention she is receiving, asking for the curtains around her bed to be drawn as we take her picture for today’s paper.
“I feel a bit tired, but I’m OK,” she says. “I would like people to register on the transplant list and talk to their families about it.”
Talking about her own life, she adds: “I like ice skating but I haven’t been for a while. I like singing, dancing and doing loads of art stuff. I like going to school, I do miss it.
“I haven’t been for three weeks. But I keep in touch with my friends on Facebook. I miss them a lot.”
Catriona, 32, and husband Colin, 45, laugh and joke with their daughter at her bedside as if nothing is out of place, trying their utmost to keep their worst fears from showing in their eyes.
Brave Chloe, who has a half-sister Siobhan, 18, and brother Dylan, 10, has had to fight for much of her life.
At two she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia and as part of her treatment her parents faced an agonising choice that would return to haunt them 10 years later.
Catriona, a nurse from Cramlington, Northumberland, says: “She was a lovely baby. But then she started getting a lot of bruises so I took her to the GP.
“The hospital did tests and she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
“She had the rarer type which is more difficult to kill off. You have to have six months of intensive chemotherapy.
“We were told that one of these chemotherapies could damage her heart at some point but that it was unlikely.
“She was a very lively two-year-old and managed with all of her treatment. We had ups and downs along the way but she fought her way through it.”
The family were overjoyed when doctors said she had beaten the disease.
“I was ecstatic when they told me,” says Catriona.
“At first you are very cautious that it could return and you don’t want to get too excited but as time goes on you know that this isn’t coming back. She still goes back for annual check-ups but was very much clear of any form of cancer.”
Even developing the digestive condition coeliac disease didn’t dent Chloe’s confidence. But two years ago her health began to get worse.
Catriona says: “When she was doing physical activity she started getting chest tightness and breathless.
“At first I didn’t think it was anything, but the symptoms became more severe. Her oncologist organised a scan and they discovered that she had a problem with her heart.
“I was devastated just at the thought of it. But we knew that the chemotherapy could do this at some point.”
Chloe was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease in which the heart muscle becomes stretched and thin. So its job of pumping blood around the body becomes very difficult.
At first doctors believed medication would keep it under control.
“They said it should be fine,” says Catriona. “She did get a bit breathless and she struggled with physical activity but not so that she couldn’t lead a normal life.
“For the last couple of years we have plodded on with that. But over the summer there has been a huge deterioration in her condition.”
Doctors then diagnosed a more serious problem called restrictive cardiomyopathy. This makes the walls of the heart go rigid so they cannot stretch and fill with blood properly.
Catriona says: “She was still managing half- days at school and trying to get herself there. She loves school and she loves being around people.
“But then three weeks ago she really became quite unwell and her breathing wasn’t great. She was very, very tired and very, very breathless. She just couldn’t manage to do very much.
“She was admitted nearly three weeks ago and she has been in intensive care for two weeks.”
In a waiting room away from the intensive care ward, Catriona says: “Chloe is a very positive person and I have to be strong for her. As long as she’s OK I’m alright.
“Her brother Dylan worries but he is very positive. We have told them that they don’t have to worry about anything – that’s what we are here for. We will do all the worrying.”
In 2008, the Daily Mirror’s Be 1 In A Million campaign resulted in more than a million people joining the organ-donor register.
But it’s the families who have to give the final consent and many people do not let their loved ones know their wishes.
Now as each day goes by, Chloe’s need for a donor heart grows. At the moment she is stable so doctors are waiting for a perfect match.
Catriona says: “We have been on the transplant list for two weeks and there have been three hearts offered, but none of them was any good for Chloe.
“I understand that organ donation has always been a bit of a taboo subject but people need to seriously consider it.
“It will be a very stressful situation for a family, but they will ultimately have to make that final decision for the donor in the end.
“Some people could be on the organ donation register but if their family aren’t aware of it they might not go for that option when that would have been their true wishes.
“It is vital that people speak to their families.
“It could be bring happiness to so many people and lots of different organs could make lots of different lives possible.”
To register as an organ donor go online to www.uktransplant.org.uk. And if you decide to go ahead please do tell your nearest and dearest about it. UPDATE: Since publishing this story Chloe Beaney and her family have had their wish come true. Late on Thursday night a donor organ became available and she immediately underwent transplant surgery. A spokesman for the hospital has said she is doing well under the circumstances and her family are said to be relieved.