The family of a teenager who died suddenly last week while waiting for a new heart are backing a campaign to get more people to donate their organs.
Fifteen-year-old Jade Allistone, who went to school in Eastbourne and lived with her family in Hailsham, died last Wednesday.
The Ratton pupil had been on the live list waiting for a heart transplant after a previous new heart was rejected by her body.
Her death has left her mother Julie and two sisters Chloe, 32, and Dani, 19, devastated and they are now urging people to sign up to donate their organs should they die. Jade was under the care of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and was an ambassador to improve facilities for young people in the same situation as her.
Julie, of Hawks Road, said, “Jade was a very positive young lady always thinking of others and really wanted to raise awareness about organ donation. Only 29 per cent of the population are organ donors and that drops even further as some families don’t carry out the wishes of their loved ones and don’t want their organs donated. People who donate their organs are doing the most precious thing every, they are giving life to somebody else. To think that when somebody dies, they could save six or seven lives.”
Jade played tennis at Hampden Park Tennis Club and other sports before she was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart muscle becomes thickened, when she was 10. She received a new heart but her body rejected it after a year and she spent long spells in hospital. She had been on the live waiting list and her family had hoped for a quick transplant. “Jade knew if she didn’t get a new heart she would die,” said Julie. “But she was brave and wanted to live her life to the full.”