Natasha's Heart Transplant Story

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raised of £500 target

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Raising money for New Start (Wythenshawe Hospital Transplant Fund) and Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity


Hi, my name is Natasha Kavanagh I live in Liverpool and I had a Heart Transplant 25 years ago aged 22. My story is a bit unusual as my donor ‘Andrew’ from Cork in Ireland is still alive thanks to his own Heart and Lung Transplant! We had what is called a ‘domino’ transplant. Andrew has cystic fibrosis and his heart had always worked hard to look after his lungs; in-turn my lungs had always worked hard to compensate for my weak heart, so as a match we were good. On the day it happened a lady sadly passed away and it was her family’s decision to donate her heart and lungs, which Andrew received successfully and I got Andrew’s heart! This is a story we have kept quiet for so long but decided to celebrate the 25 years and perhaps help others.

My life has been so successful following the Heart Transplant and I am enormously grateful to the NHS, so many hospitals have been involved with my care, all the staff who looked after me from when I was a baby having had 4 major heart operations ages: 2, 7, 12 (which included a stay in hospital for a whole year) and 18 including other operations that came with their own complications of being a sick child and then came my transplant at the age of 22.

I would like your help in raising money for the Transplant Hospitals I have been directly involved in, they are Harefield Hospital where I had my Heart Transplant in 1999 and where I also met Andrew as we both recovered there and Wythenshawe Hospital where I have been followed up since 2007. By highlighting the many mile stones and raising money I hope to raise awareness for future recipients as well as the enormity of gratitude to the donors and their families. It is because of Andrew and his decision to donate his heart I was able to complete my degree, do a PGCE, complete my Master’s Degree, teach for 22 years, back-pack numerous continents and most importantly I have a beautiful daughter who is now 14. I had her 10 years post-transplant and she is very healthy despite needing to come 6 weeks early to help me! But she is now along with my husband and friends going to help me get up the mountains to celebrate this momentous mile stone! My Challenge: To climb the three peaks in the UK. Scafell Pike 3rd April, Snowdonia 11th April and Ben Nevis 1st June. 100% money raised will go to the two chosen hospitals.

Living with the long-term side effects of my previous Heart surgeries of which I have chronic kidney disease and chronic liver disease, mean I am still under hospital care, mix this with the transplant immunosuppressants I have to take can come with complications at times. So, to say I can still do challenges after 25years (with a lot of rest in between) I hope you will help me raise the money to say THANK YOU to the transplant hospitals directly involved with my recovery. I had my heart transplant at Harefield in 1999 and was only given 5 years post-transplant to live, yet I am in a position to celebrate 25 years this year. Both hospitals continue to provide care and develop the work of transplants and transplant care and aid so many others like myself, I really am grateful for their expertise and care, and want to give them hope that the lives they change are fully fulfilled. Please see the link to the charities and help if you can – I am aiming to keep the funds equal to both charities. THANK YOU for your time.

1st Mountain Scafell Pike 3rd April 2024. Relentless rain but we all got up and back down safely. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated and supported this cause.

2nd Mountain Snowdonia 11th April 2024. Brilliant experience but very tough..Wet, wild and very cold.. the whole team got up and back safely despite poor visibility. A huge thank you for everyone’s ongoing support and donations. 3rd Mountain on its way.

Update for 3rd and Final Climb. Date to be moved to July or August 2024.

Update on the 3 mountain challenge.. I have been a bit quiet as from starting my first climb Scarfell Pike I had just been told I may have Liver cancer but a biopsy was needed to confirm, so I went ahead with Scarfell Pike just over a week from the biopsy. The reason for the cancer is for the first 22years of my life my old heart had let out ‘bad blood’ causing a lack of oxygen and this meant it effected my liver causing cirrhosis and now all this time later and doing my second mountain a few days before the results, did confirm I have 2 primary types of cancer in the liver. I have just had microwave ablation surgery 16th May on the 3 tumours and again while waiting for the results I am in hospital with a lung infection and my chronic Kidney disease is taking a hit. I absolutely know the future of my liver is problematic but who knows it might just behave and the mountains will become my life line.. But for now I can’t get up Ben Nevis until I am fit again.

My daughter and husband have been by my side as this new health journey throws things at us, but we plan to step on the mountain together, when the time is right. Just wanted to say a huge thank you to my friends and family who have helped me through this so far - your kind words and encouragement have meant the world x

My Heart Transplant has taken the weight of past health and put everything right for the last 25years and I certainly intend to keep climbing. Organ Transplant is everything - don’t be afraid. Thank you for supporting.

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About the charities

  • New Start (Wythenshawe Hospital Transplant Fund)

    RCN 1049067
  • Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity

    RCN 1053584

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