Brave Leeds schoolgirl marks heart surgery milestone

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THIS year marks a special anniversary for Leeds schoolgirl Gabrysia Filarowski.

It’s been five years since the brave youngster received a new heart that saved her life.

Gabrysia Filarowski.

Gabrysia Filarowski.

As a baby, Gabrysia had major heart defects and was given six months to live.

But at the age of one she underwent a heart transplant at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and hasn’t looked back since.

Now the adorable six-year-old from Horsforth is marking the five-year milestone with some special festive fun.

Gabrysia and her family were recently given a trip to the pantomime at the Bradford Alhambra.

24/09/2009'Sick toddler Gabrysia Filarowski who was given just months to live has been given a new lease of 'life after getting a last minute heart transplant.'Collect photo in hospital.''Credit must read : Ross Parry Agency

24/09/2009'Sick toddler Gabrysia Filarowski who was given just months to live has been given a new lease of 'life after getting a last minute heart transplant.'Collect photo in hospital.''Credit must read : Ross Parry Agency

The family was chauffeured to the theatre in a special taxi to see a performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which features previous X Factor winner Joe McElderry.

Dad Andrew said: “Gabrysia is an absolute star.

“She understands that she’s different – she’s just one of five children in the world on her particular care plan due to her being unable to accept many available hearts and so had specific complications.

“But she somehow makes sense of it all and is full of life. “She loves singing and dancing so a day out at the pantomime is a perfect treat for her.

“And of course, being six years old, she’s into princesses and fairy tales so Snow White really fits the bill!”

The pantomime treat was organised by local housebuilder Redrow.

Andrew added: “We’re very grateful that Redrow has arranged all this for us, it’s something we’ve all been looking forward to for some time.”

Redrow also donated £300 to the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF), which raises money for equipment, facilities, aftercare and research for the Children’s Heart Unit and the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Freeman Hospital.

Andrew added: “Gabrysia’s heart will only last a certain amount of time – we were told five to 10 years – so we’re also very grateful for Redrow’s generous donation to CHUF.

“And because of Gabrysia’s story, we hope we can encourage more people to sign up to the organ donation register.”

Patsy Aicken, sales director at Redrow, said: “When we heard about everything Gabrysia’s gone through in her short life we jumped at the chance of doing something special for her.

“She’s a wonderful little lady, a true princess herself, and we hope she and her family had the most amazing day.”

For more information or to sign up to the organ donor register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.

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