Jack Tennick, from East Kilbride, was born with aortic valve stenosis, a congenital heart defect which meant he had to undergo two major heart operations by the time he was seven.
Jack’s second procedure was able to proceed thanks to a donated heart valve, which has allowed the now ten year old to lead a normal, active life, free from medication – something his mum Claire Lee remains grateful for to this day.
Claire, 38, said:
“I can’t praise the NHS enough for what they did for Jack. The surgery went to plan, and he was out of intensive care within a couple of days.
“We hadn’t at that point been brave enough to tell Jack where his donor valve had come from, as explaining that a part of someone else was inside him would have been a big thing for him to take in.
“We’ve since had that conversation and he thinks it’s really cool. Apart from the scar he has, you wouldn’t know to look at him.
“Without the donor valve, Jack would have needed an artificial valve which would have caused so much worry and put a lot of restrictions on his life.
“There’s no guarantees how long the new valve will last, but he’s doing really well. Every time we go for the annual checkup, there’s always that worry, but Jack’s life now is just like any other ten year old’s.”
Speaking about his donor, Claire said:
“I’m just so grateful that they had that difficult conversation, as it’s given Jack so much. He can go to school, go out to play with his friends. He’s football daft and goes to all the games with his grandpa and uncle.
“I think the move to an opt out system is a great thing. I think it’s a pretty strong statement to say I don’t want to be an organ donor, but understand everyone has their own reasons, and some people don’t even like thinking about it as they feel like it’s tempting fate.
“I hope all the awareness around the new law will make people think about their decision and have that conversation because it’s so important. We’ll be eternally grateful.”