A teenager who desperately needs a new heart and lungs has inspired a Wiltshire furniture retailer to raise more than £14, 000 for the Royal Papworth transplant hospital in Cambridgeshire.  

Online retailer Furniturebox UK, in Chippenham discovered Freya, the stepdaughter of accounts manager Lisa Potter, is on the waiting list for an operation after suffering complete heart failure in March.

Up to then, she had been a healthy, active and gregarious girl getting ready to prepare for her GCSEs.

After being placed in an induced coma at Salisbury District Hospital, Freya was transferred to the Royal Papworth Hospital, the UK’s leading centre for heart operations.

After lots of care and determination, Freya was finally well enough in July to be placed on the NHS organ transplant waiting list for a new heart and both lungs.

Lisa says: “The day Freya was told she was finally well enough to go on the transplant list, she should have been going to prom.

“So, the nurses surprised her with lots of different dresses to choose from, make-up, tiaras, bottles of Shloer, a handmade photo frame, etc. They really go above and beyond for her.

“Signing the paperwork for two new organs and a virtual prom all in one day was a bit overwhelming for us all.

“I want to let everyone know that Furniturebox is supporting Royal Papworth and spread it far and wide to raise as much money as possible! I'm sure Freya would love to show her nurses, surgeons, etc too!” 

The Royal Papworth is the UK's largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital and the country's main heart and lung transplant centre, treating more than 22,400 inpatient and day cases and 48,400 outpatients each year from across the UK. 

Through September, Furniturebox UK donated £10 from every single order the company received to the hospital's charity. At the end of the month, the firm was thrilled to have raised £14,330.

Lisa and Freya are not the only members of the Furniturebox family to have needed help from Royal Papworth. In 2000 HR manager Nuala Whitehouse’s son Mark was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a type of heart disease that causes the heart chambers to thin and stretch.

He was given just days to live when he and his parents arrived at Papworth in December 2000. He had his heart transplant on February 13, 2001.

Like Freya, Mark was an in-patient at Royal Papworth. He has gone on to live a full and healthy life. Mark even had one of the same assisting surgeons that has been assigned to Freya – Dr Steve Tsui. 

Mr Whitehouse said: “To know the real Papworth though you must have experienced its true greatness. When all felt lost for myself and my family the knowledge, care and compassion of this team have facilitated a donor's heart to give me the precious gift of a second chance in life.” 

Furniturebox founders Monty George and Dan Beckles were able to visit Freya and her dad Ken Potter, along with her team of nurses and surgeons, to hand over the donation on November 16.

Monty said: “The Royal Papworth Hospital Charity is really incredibly close to Furniturebox and an important cause that some of our work family have or are currently directly relying on.

“Every single purchase our customers made through September directly helps this vital service and we are so grateful for all the support from our customers. The money raised will help fund vital services and help to continue saving lives.”