The family of Mirror campaigner Max Johnson sent a message of hope to the parents of a baby girl waiting for a heart transplant yesterday.
Max’s father Paul Johnson paid tribute to Terry and Cheryl Archbold, whose 16-month-old daughter Beatrix is desperately ill.
The Mirror told how the Archbolds had agreed to donate the heart of their daughter Isabel for medical research when she was tragically stillborn in 2018.
Paul, 49, said: “They are a remarkable family who helped others and are now desperate for an organ to save their little girl.
“We hope and pray they receive the gift of life very very soon.”
Beatrix is in the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, where Max, 14, received his heart in 2017.
Beatrix Archbold needs a heart transplant
The little girl has fought back from a cardiac arrest
His life was saved by the selfless sacrifice of the family of Keira Ball, who died aged nine following a car accident near her home in Barnstaple, Devon.
The two families joined forces in the Mirror’s four-year campaign to change the organ donor law in England.
Civil servant Paul, of Winsford Cheshire, added: “Beatrix could not be in a better place for a transplant.
“The Freeman is the best in the country if not the world. Their surgeons push the boundaries of clinical possibility to save lives.”
Terry, 44, of Burnopfield, Co Durham, said the messages of support had made a huge difference to them.
He and wife Cheryl, 40, both local authority workers, thanked the Johnsons for their kind thoughts.
“It is really reassuring to hear from families who have walked the same path before us. It does give you hope,” said Terry. “We know that there are children who have waited years for a transplant.
Beatrix is at the same hospital where Max had his heart transplant
She is using a Berlin Heart device until a heart becomes available
“There are absolutely incredible stories and we are taking inspiration from them.” Beatrix’s sister Isabel had hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Her heart was donated for medical research into the condition after her stillbirth.
Beatrix was diagnosed with a completely different condition, an enlarged heart, in May. Now, she is using a Berlin Heart Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) as she awaits a heart transplant.
Our campaign resulted in Max and Keira’s Law, named in their honour, being introduced two years ago. It means everyone is presumed to be a donor when they die unless they opt out, though a final decision is always verified with loved ones.
Latest figures reveal an incredible 1,540 organ donations have taken place since we won the historic law change.
In 2020, more than 1,700 children received life-saving transplants, matched from nearly 900 young organ donors.
A total of 6399 people are on the UK Transplant Waiting List. Around 1,900 are children, more than 500 aged one to five years old.
Follow ‘Beatrix’s Heart Journey’ here or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.