Today a Leeds family will celebrate a day they never thought they’d see – the sixth birthday of a little girl saved by the gift of life.
Gabrysia Filarowski, from Horsforth, was given just six months to live as a baby after she was born with major heart defects.
In July 2009, she underwent a lifesaving heart transplant and now continues to surprise her parents Angela and Andrew with her achievements.
Angela said: “Her sixth birthday is a day we never thought we would see – literally.
“We are celebrating parties with Gabrysia’s family and friends and making a special trip to see Disney on Ice at Leeds arena – we live for the moment and fulfil our dreams wherever possible as we know only too well the harsh reality of what we could face at any moment with her.”
Gabrysia was born with a serious heart defect and after two bouts of open heart surgery, her parents were told that only a transplant would save her life. She underwent surgery at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
Now she is doing well and, after starting dance lessons over a year ago, delighted her family with her performance as The Little Mermaid in a competition last week.
She was awarded a 4th place medal and her teacher said she showed “great promise”.
“Other girls taking part in the festival have been dancing since they were 12 to 18 months old and our daughter at that point was in such major heart failure that she couldn’t do anything on her own, so to see her leaping and bounding across a stage performing a solo dance is nothing short of a miracle,” Angela added.
“We are so proud of the miracle that is our daughter but know we owe a debt of gratitude to all who made it possible.”
* Gabrysia’s family are passionate about promoting organ donation.
She would not have survived without her transplant, carried out when she was 16 months old.
Her recovery went well, apart from a few complications, and now she is one regular infusions of antibodies after suffering from repeated chest infections.
The youngster even sometimes injects herself with the infusions, which she was delighted to manage.
“If only she knew how momentous it was that she was able to do this,” her mum said.
“We thank God in our prayers with Gabrysia every night for our donor family and remember their selfless act always. We continue to encourage all to sign up to the donor register and consider giving the most amazing gift of all – the gift of life.”
Log on to www.uktransplant.org.uk or ring 0300 123 23 23.