Shropshire Star

Incredible story of Shrewsbury teenager's heart transplant journey

Having been in a state of heart failure since she was a baby, teenager Olivia's health rapidly deteriorated in August 2022 when she began complaining of chest pains. Shortly after, she was placed on the donor wait list, anxiously waiting for a call that could save her life.

Olivia continuing to make progress post-transplant. Credit: Emma Austin

Thirteen-year-old Olivia Austin was born on November 21, 2009, to parents Emma and Dave Austin, of Minsterley, near Shrewsbury.

Since birth she had been in and out of hospital, after she was diagnosed with a serious heart problem called transposition of the great arteries.

Olivia Austin pictured on first birthday at home in Shrewsbury

A check-up at Birmingham Children’s Hospital last year revealed that Olivia's condition had become severe, and she would be assessed for transplant at the cardiac unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, five hours away.

Olivia was then placed on the donor heart wait list before returning home.

Mum Emma, who was pregnant with her eighth child at the time said: “From that point onwards, we felt like we were living on a knife-edge.

"Although we were back home in Shrewsbury, we were constantly waiting for ‘the call’, with bags packed in readiness.

"We felt like we couldn’t do anything with Olivia’s six siblings, and being pregnant with our eighth child there was also concern about what we would do should a donor heart and the baby come at the same time.

"We didn’t know how we would cope, or even where I would stay so far away from home. We only knew that my husband Dave would need to take time off work to look after our children, when the time came.”