Leeds mum listens to beating heart of her 14-year-old son 23 years after his death

Daniel Titley and Gillian Norris meet. Picture by ITV.
Daniel Titley and Gillian Norris meet. Picture by ITV.
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The mother of a 14-year-old Leeds boy who tragically died while riding his bike in 1992 has been reunited with his beating heart.

Gillian Norris, from Gildersome, lost her son Stephen 23 years ago after he was involved in a road accident but in her darkest hour agreed that his organs be donated to help others.

Gillian listens to her late son's heart beating in Daniel Titley's chest. Picture by ITV.

Gillian listens to her late son's heart beating in Daniel Titley's chest. Picture by ITV.

His organs went on to save the lives of several people including Daniel Titley, from Aberyswyth, who was told at the time that without a heart transplant he had a year to live.

With the help of ITV’s Real Stories with Ranvir Singh, Daniel, who is now 35, tracked down Gillian after searching through old cuttings of the Yorkshire Evening Post at Leeds Central Library that revealed Stephen’s identity.

The pair enjoyed an emotional meeting earlier this month, in which Gillian put her head to Daniel’s chest to hear her late son’s heart beating two decades on.

Daniel told the YEP: “It was good but sort of weird and quite emotional, especially for her as she got quite emotional.

A picture of a young Daniel Titley. Picture by ITV.

A picture of a young Daniel Titley. Picture by ITV.

“I said thankyou, we talked about my life and his life and what he was like and what I was like before my transplant.

“I feel I’ve had some closure. We are now friends on Facebook, so hopefully we will keep in touch.”

In 1992 Daniel was just 11 years old and desperately ill, with severe heart problems. He had undergone an operation at three weeks old, another at five, and further surgery at 10.

Doctors told him they could no longer operate on his heart, which had been defective from birth, and that he would need a new one.

Gillian Norris and Daniel Titley meet. Picture by ITV.

Gillian Norris and Daniel Titley meet. Picture by ITV.

But months later, the death of a 14-year-old boy in a road accident in Leeds, led to the transplant that saved Daniel’s life.

“Back then I was pretty ill, I was only doing half days at school and got let out of classes early to avoid the rush,” he said. “I could only walk 100 yards at a time and I just got very tired a lot.”

Daniel has backed the YEP’s call for Yorkshire residents to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register as part of Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust’s Be A Hero campaign.

The campaign launched after it emerged just 29 Leeds families donated organs last year as around 800 Yorkshire residents await lifesaving transplants. Three people in the UK die every day waiting for a transplant.

Daniel added: “It’s very, very important that people sign the register. It’s a matter of life and death literally.

“I know several different people received organs from Stephen, so each decision saves not just one life but several lives.”

The episode of Real Stories with Ranvir Singh that Daniel and Gillian feature in will be broadcast on ITV tonight at 7.30pm.

Click here to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register as part of the YEP-backed Be A Hero campaign.

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