A TEENAGER on the road to recovery after a life-saving heart transplant is urging people to become organ donors.
Sonny Klawiter, 19, a student at New College Stamford, was born with a complicated heart condition that left him struggling to do much physical activity.
He underwent a last resort heart transplant operation at Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, in May. Seven months on he is doing well and is back studying for his VRQ level 3 professional chef’s diploma at New College Stamford.
Sonny, of Main Road, Dyke, said: “Since I have been home I have been getting better and better. Everything is perfect at the moment and the doctors are happy.”
Since his operation, Sonny has been trying to raise awareness of the need for people to become organ donors.
He added: “A lot of people die every year just waiting for organs because there are not enough people on the organ donor list. Someone I know is still in the ward and will have been there for 12 months in January.”
Sonny had an operation at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, at five years old which allowed him to lead a relatively normal life.
But in January this year his condition started to deteriorate and on May 1 he was told he would need a new heart.
Sonny said: “Throughout my teenage years I was OK, although I was not as fit as my friends.
“But I gradually deteriorated and I was struggling at work in the six months before the operation. I didn’t go out much because I was just too tired.
“I was all right going into the operation, I knew it was either that or not a lot else. There was nothing else they could do for my heart.”
Thankfully the operation was a success and Sonny was able to return home in July, just in time for his 19th birthday.
He has always been a keen cyclist and got a new bike not long after coming home. He said: “I have done more than 500 miles on it already, which I would never have been able to do before.”
Sonny was lucky to find a matching donor within eight days of being admitted to the transplant ward at Freeman Hospital. But others are not so fortunate.
Signing up to the organ donor list is a simple two-minute process.
Go to www.uktransplant.org.uk to register and find out more.
Sonny has also been trying to raise awareness of the organisations which helped him.
They are Heartlink, the Children’s Heart Unit Foundation, Freeman Hospital Ward 27a and the Heart and Lung Transport Association.