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Local News

Barnsley girl, 12, with life-threatening condition given ‘best present ever’ this Christmas

today23/12/2021

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A young girl with a life-threatening heart condition received the “best present ever” when a successful transplant allowed her to return home in time for Christmas.

Tanesha Ives, 12, was born with complete atrioventricular septal defect, a condition that created holes between the right and left sides of her heart.

The brave youngster from Barnsley needed life-saving heart surgery when she was just five weeks old and has been in an out of hospital all her life.

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She even had a permanent pacemaker fitted when she was just 18 months old.

When expert medics took the difficult decision to do a risky heart transplant this year, Tanesha spent most of November 100 miles from her friends and family.



Tanesha said being home for Christmas was the “best present ever”

And she had resigned herself to spending the festive period confined to her hospital bed in Newcastle.

But now after recovering from surgery, she can’t wait to spend Christmas at home with her mum Amanda Bell, 47, and sister Ashante, six.

Tenesha said: “It was great to go home for Christmas and be a normal kid.”



The young girl has a life-threatening heart condition

Mum-of-four Amanda said: “We are grateful to the donor, and we think about them every day. This wouldn’t have happened without their family.

“It’s just such a big relief to have her home for Christmas.

“That’s all we were aiming for – just to have her home and to have Christmas, just me and my girls in the house at home and being together on Christmas morning.”



Her condition created holes between the right and left sides of her heart

On October 25, Amanda got the call that a donor was available and the procedure to replace Tanesha’s faulty heart had to take place at once – 100 miles from her home.

She said: “They rang me up at 6:45 in the morning and told me to get to the ward for 8am. I didn’t find out until 11:15am that it was going to be a go.

“They gave her the immunosuppressant pills, gave her the antibiotics, got her in the gown, all done and at 2:15, all the surgeons came for her.

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“I was scared, I was crying, I was a mess, to be honest. But I was trying to keep calm for her.

“Tanesha was screaming: ‘I don’t want to go to sleep again mummy. Stop them. Help me’.

“She’s 12 so she knew some of the risks. It was hard to watch it. But she came out of the surgery fighting.”



Young Tanesha Ives pictured during her long and painful treatment for a heart defect

Even though Tanesha soon managed to move out of the intensive care ward, Amanda had concerns that she wouldn’t make it home for the festive period.

She said: “I did worry she wouldn’t come home for Christmas.

“All the nurses kept saying ‘Ooh you may be home for Christmas, you know!’ and Tanesha was like ‘I bet I’m not going to be’.”



Tanesha remained brave throughout her treatment

But she said it was a massive “relief” when doctors finally gave her the all-clear said she would be headed home to spend the holidays with her sister and mother.

Amanda said the little girl’s medical woes began at birth when doctors found she had a condition that created holes between the right and left sides of her heart.

More problems surfaced later when Tanesha needed a permanent pacemaker fitted aged 18 months and later caught life-threatening sepsis following further heart surgery.



The family are back home together for Christmas

Despite these difficulties, she seemed to be making steady progress but had another scare in 2015 when she stopped breathing in her sleep.

Amanda said: “It was a shock for me and my family. It wasn’t picked up in pregnancy, so I was just thrown into the congenital heart defects world.

“She had a good couple of years where she was in and out with infections, but nothing major to do with her heart until 2015 when she stopped breathing in her sleep.

“I was up breastfeeding my younger daughter at the time when she stopped breathing. She’s usually a noisy breather in her sleep, and I couldn’t hear her.

“I shook her and started screaming her name, and she started to fit. Then I grabbed her and rushed her to the hospital.”



The family are still fundraising to cover costs

At the end of 2019, Tanesha’s health deteriorated again and doctors began to raise the possibility of a risky heart transplant.

Specialist surgeons at Freeman Hospital Children’s Heart Unit, in Newcastle, later found that her heart was failing and fast-tracked her for a transplant in 2021.

The family are now fundraising to recover costs incurred while looking after Tanesha.

Visit this page to donate.

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Written by: Rother Radio News


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