‘It saved my life’ – New heart for 21-year-old who feared he wouldn’t make Christmas
- Credit: DOM DAVIES
Struck down by a potentially deadly condition, 21-year-old Dom Davies feared this would be the Christmas he would not make.
If it wasn't for a life-saving heart transplant, the Suffolk-based charity volunteer may not have been celebrating the festive period with his family.
Mr Davies was born with a single ventricle heart condition, which greatly affected his mobility and ability to live a life like his peers. It could also have killed him.
Instead, he is now looking forward to spending Christmas with his family - and with a new lease of life.
"I'm feeling great - I'm actually able to live my life," he said.
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"Last year, I didn't feel up to do anything - I didn't even eat my Christmas dinner and was taken for a walk in my wheelchair but just didn't want to do a single thing. The chances of not making it to this Christmas were always there."
The condition affects one lower chamber of the heart (a ventricle) and causes red blood to mix with blue blood - resulting in the amount of oxygenated blood in the body decrease. For many, it means their heart is not strong enough to handle day-to-day life.
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More than 3,000 children and adults live with the incurable condition, and in the past surgery gave parents an up to 80% risk of losing their child.
After his life-saving surgery, Mr Davies spent much of the year in and out of hospital needing rest - but that entire time, he had his bright future in mind.
He said: "My main plan this year is just to eat - I was so annoyed last year that there was so much food I couldn't eat. This year has been such a spirit lifting thing for me as before, looking to the future was only a short term thing - but now thanks to the transplant I can look further."
But despite his positive outlook, chances of further complications remain with the possibility of his body rejecting the new heart.
He said: "I know there is always a chance of rejection, but the nurses have put me at ease as they know what to do if something goes wrong. All my life, I've had the risk of going to hospital for something serious, and this is just another one of those. I can't keep worrying, I just need to live my life."
After hearing he had made it onto the transplant list, brother Benie had written a song named "Young Man's Heart" in his honour within the space of two hours.
The song is now used by charity Little Hearts Matter to raise awareness on the little-known condition.
On the topic of organ donation, Benie said: "Just get on it! I've never understood why there's sometimes a stigma around it, it's a brilliant thing that helps save lives."