Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Three Years after Her Op, Louisa's Doing Just Great; Heart-Swap Tot's Living Life to Full

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Three Years after Her Op, Louisa's Doing Just Great; Heart-Swap Tot's Living Life to Full

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH JUDD

A LITTLE star, whose role as a poster girl for the national organ donor campaign led to her face appearing on Coronation Street, is looking forward to the arrival of Santa with a smile.

Louisa McGregor Smith, three, from Longlands, Middlesbrough, bravely battled through a lifesaving heart transplant at just five months old, exactly three years ago today.

On the anniversary of her transplant, the "little madam" who th inks nothing of bossing big Brother Billy, 10, around the house, is unrecognisable from the girl who lay in Newcastle's Freeman Hospital with tubes attaching her body to life-giving machines.

As she happily solves jigsaw puzzles and speaks excitedly of meeting Mickey Mouse in Disneyland Paris last year, it's clear she has come on in leaps and bounds from the baby whose virus led to her suffering two mini strokes -and her tiny heart failing.

Proud mum, Sam, 36, a medical receptionist, said: "It's three years since Louisa had her transplant.

"The three years have gone so fast. It was so horrendous at the time, but we can't imagine going through that now. It doesn't feel as if it ever happened."

Sam hopes her little girl's experience has acted as a ray of hope to other parents facing the agony of waiting for their child's lifesaving transplant.

Following her recovery, Louisa's appearance on posters for the NHS National Blood and Transplant Service even led to a recent appearance on Coronation Street, during the soap's explosive 50th anniversary scenes.

Eagle-eyed St Joseph's School pupil Billy spotted Louisa on a poster behind the character Tyrone, who was in hospital waiting for news of his wife and tram-crash victim Molly.

But despite their pride in their daughter's cameo in one of the nation's favourite soaps, Sam and Louisa's dad Kerry, 39, are even more proud Louisa's story has inspired thousands on Teesside to sign up to the organ donor register. …

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