The mother of teenager Ben Sporle, whose life was saved by a heart transplant, has shared her story in the hope of encouraging people to join the organ donor list.
Kerry Sporle, 39, of Barbel Close, Calne, says life became a waiting game after 13-year-old Ben’s heart failed. He was placed on the urgent transplant list with months to live.
Ben, who has severe learning difficulties, ADHD and limited speech, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy in 2011, a condition that means the heart cannot pump blood efficiently.
In April this year he fell ill and went into intensive care at Bristol Children’s Hospital to receive medication until a heart was available.
An organ donor came up and he was given his new heart at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London.
Mrs Sporle worked as a teaching assistant at St Nicholas School, in Chippenham, until Ben fell ill. She was at his bedside for his operation with her partner, Gordon Adamson, and Ben’s father, Jason Sporle, who lives in Swindon.
“When they told me he needed a donor I was in complete shock. All I could focus on was thinking ‘we will get him his new heart’. It wasn’t a question of ‘will we get a new heart’, it was when.
At first Ben’s heart did not work properly, causing more problems. His kidneys failed, meaning he was forced to go onto a dialysis machine. “It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, but hopefully now he’s been given this gift we can go forward.”
Mrs Sporle, who joined the organ donor list herself after Ben’s operation, said she met other people in hospital who are still waiting for organs.
She said that around 1,000 people a year die waiting for an organ. “I’m very passionate now to get people on the donor list,” she said. “I don’t think it’s that they don’t want to, it’s just that they don’t realise the need until they are in this position themselves.”
For more information on organ donation, visit www. organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 2323.