A Valentine's gift of life

A CLEVEDON woman is marking the anniversary of receiving a very special Valentine's gift - a donor heart. Ruth Wilkinson was left practically housebound as

A CLEVEDON woman is marking the anniversary of receiving a very special Valentine's gift - a donor heart.Ruth Wilkinson was left practically housebound as a result of a genetic disorder called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which caused her to have a thickened heart muscle.Mrs Wilkinson, aged 63, was diagnosed with the illness when she was 20 and lived a normal life until she hit 60 and her condition worsened.She was put on the organ transplant list for a new heart and underwent the eight-hour operation during Valentine's week two years ago.Now the plucky pensioner says she has a new lease of life and is urging other people to find it in their heart to sign up to the register this Valentine's Day.Mrs Wilkinson, a retired secretary and accounts clerk, said: "I was extremely lucky."As a result of me being diagnosed, the rest of my family were tested and out of three brothers and sisters who had the condition, I am the only survivor."When I reached 60 my heart started to fail and my health was deteriorating rapidly and I was in a wheelchair and my husband Les had to do everything for me."Mrs Wilkinson, of Wedmore Close, was immediately put on the transplant list and miraculously, just days later, a heart became available.She added: "It was nothing short of a miracle."I am now living as a normal person would, managing to do everything other people do such as go shopping and get out and about. "The difference it has made to my life is incredible and I would urge everyone to sign up to the organ donor register."Being an organ donor is the best gift you can give - the gift of life."You can find out more about the NHS Organ Donor Register and join by contacting the Organ Donor Line on 0845 60 60 400 or visiting http://www.uktransplant.org.uk

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