Dyke teenager looks to future after heart transplant

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A TEENAGER is looking to the future after a life-saving heart transplant and hopes to be home in time to celebrate his birthday on July 19.

Sonny Klawiter, 18, of Main Road, Dyke was born with a complicated heart condition which left him struggling to do any physical activity.

An operation at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester at five years old allowed Sonny 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.

The New College Stamford student was referred to Freeman Hospital, Newcastle and made the tough decision to stay there until a matching heart became available.

Sonny could have faced months of uncertainty, but only had to wait eight days. Sonny underwent surgery on May 15, the transplant was a success and he is now recovering in hospital.

Sonny’s mother Sue stayed by his side in Newcastle and says that he is doing well.

She said: “He’s happy, although quite shellshocked. It’s a huge deal.

“We were extremely lucky that they found a matching heart so soon.

“The hospital team is delighted with how things have gone considering the complexity of his condition.”

Sonny is in the second year of a Vocational Related Qualification level 3 professional chef’s diploma and his course-mates have been busy while he has been in hospital.

They organised an eight-course meal and raffle to raise money for Sonny’s four chosen charities Heartlink, the Children’s Heart Unit Foundation, Freeman Hospital Ward 27A and the Heart and Lung Transport Association.

All ingredients and raffle prizes were donated by local businesses and the meal raised £1,636 which will be split between the four causes.

Mrs Klawiter said: “Sonny’s college tutor has been in regular contact telling him what his course-mates have been up to. “Sonny chose the four charities to donate the money to. They are personal choices for him.

“The group made a fantastic effort and people have been very generous.”

Sonny’s recovery is going well and he is now able to walk around the hospital. Doctors have not said when he will be able to return home but his family hopes he will be back for his birthday.

Mrs Klawiter added: “He will be 19 on July 19 and it is nice to think we will be home for that but we are taking it day by day.

“We have been told it’s a very emotional time right after the operation and that Sonny will get a lot of strange feelings about a lot of things, but he is looking forward to the future now.

“I think it will take a while for him to realise the potential he now has.”

Cards and texts have been flooding in from Sonny’s family, friends and colleagues from Time for Tea, Abbey Road, Bourne.

Mrs Klawiter said: “His dad Chris and sister Micha come up every weekend and his older brother Daniel visits a lot.

“We have had some lovely texts and cards, especially from the people at his work.

“The people at my church, St Gilbert’s in Bourne, have been praying for him and have been very supportive.

“I have nothing but praise for the hospital staff as well. It’s the most fantastic organisation.

“We feel very lucky that we have had such a good team looking after us.

“It has been emotional but a lovely experience.”

Sonny was unable to speak for long, but said: “I want to say a big thanks to all my friends, it helps enormously to know people are thinking of you.”