Fun day for charity marks transplant that gave youngster a whole new life

A YOUNGSTER has celebrated the fourth anniversary of her life-saving heart transplant with a fundraising party for a charity which helped support her family.

In July 2009, Gabrysia Filarowski’s family received the call they had been desperately waiting for. At the time she was seriously ill – and now the five-year-old has celebrated her transplant anniversary with a fundraising party.

School friends from St Mary’s in Horsforth, Leeds, joined her for an afternoon of fun in aid of Make-A-Wish Foundation, which sent her family on a dream holiday to Disneyworld in Florida.

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Gabrysia’s mother, Angela, said she was doing “amazingly well”, with events like her school sports day being extra special.

“It’s incredible – these are run of the mill things for every other parent but magical moments for us. It’s moments like that when you realise it’s been a miracle for her.”

Gabrysia, from Horsforth, was born with a serious heart defect and after two bouts of open heart surgery, Mrs Filarowski and her husband, Andrew, were told that only a transplant would save their daughter’s life. They got the crucial call on July 9, 2009, and she underwent surgery at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. Since the operation, she has generally recovered well.

“Her heart is brilliant. It’s never faltered and it’s really strong,” Mrs Filarowski said. “The complication that she’s got is due to being immunosuppressed.”

The youngster has suffered from a persistent cough, but it is hoped that a new treatment derived from plasma from donated blood will help. Since her transplant, Gabrysia’s family have organised a fundraising event to mark the anniversary every year and this time decided to support the charity which sent them on their Disney break.

Her friends joined a sponsored soft play session at Kids Clubhouse in Horsforth, with activities including face painting. Donations can be made via www.justgiving.com/Angela-Filarowski1.