Starting school is a milestone for any youngster – but it’s an incredible one for this four-year-old.
For Gabrysia Filarowski’s parents feared she might not survive to see this day.
As a baby she was given just six months to live because of a serious heart defect. Only a heart transplant could save her and she got the lifesaving operation in July 2009.
Now the four-year-old is thriving and very excited to be starting at St Mary’s School in Horsforth, Leeds, today. (Sept 10)
Mum Angela said: “All the way through it’s been waiting for the next milestone, will she reach the next Christmas, will she be here for her birthday.
“School was the next massive milestone that we never thought she would get to.”
Gabrysia Filarowski was born with a serious heart defect and after two bouts of open heart surgery, Angela and husband Andrew were told that only a transplant would save her life. They got the crucial call on July 9, 2009, and she underwent surgery at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
Since then, apart from a few complications because of her suppressed immune system, she has generally recovered well.
Angela said they were all very excited about her starting school. We’ve talked about it such a lot and it feels very real now. I’m so proud. Seeing her try her uniform on and get ready, it’s really emotional.”
Gabrysia loved pre-school and is very bright, despite fears that her illness might affect her cognitive ability.
Angela added the family who made the courageous decision to donate their little girl’s organs after her death was always in their minds, but especially today.
She said they owed the donor family a “debt of gratitude”.
“We’ve had an amazing extra three years with our daughter thanks to them,” said the mum-of-three, from Horsforth.
“We are just totally overwhelmed.”
To sign up for the Organ Donor Register, log on to www.uktransplant.org.uk or ring 0300 123 23 23.