- Theo Ormondi died just weeks after being born following a sudden illness
- But his lungs were donated to Imogen Bolton – who was 5 months old at the time
- This allowed her to become Britain’s youngest double lung transplant patient
- Theo’s 2 kidneys also were given to a young adult, making his parents ‘proud’
The parents of the UK’s youngest lung donor have spoken of their pride after his organs helped to save the lives of two people.
Theo Omondi passed away when he was just 41 days old following a sudden illness.
But his lungs were donated to save Imogen Bolton – who was five months old at the time – and a young adult, who was given his two kidneys.
Imogen became Britain’s youngest double lung transplant patient after undergoing a seven-hour operation at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital earlier this year.
She had been diagnosed with the rare illness Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia (ACD), meaning her lungs had not properly formed.
But the transplant in October was a success and she is recovering well at home, her family say.
Theo’s parents, who did not wish to be identified, said the donation had been a ‘once-in-a-lifetime chance’ meeting of two little people bravely and and beautifully fighting for life.
They said: ‘We believe he would have wanted to help others if he had been able to grow up and make the decision himself.
‘We are proud of what Theo could do not just for Imogen, but also for a young adult who now runs their body with his two tiny kidneys.’
‘We know that every breath Imogen takes is a breath for our son. Every birthday Imogen celebrates is also a celebration of Theo’s birth.
‘We imagine how perhaps someday Imogen and Theo can blow out his birthday candles together.’
Imogen’s parents, Hayley and Jason Bolton, from Brighton, urged people to join the organ donation register, as they praised Theo’s ‘gift’.
Theo’s two kidneys were also donated to a young adult (pictured, Theo’s parents, who do not wish to be identified, holding his hand in hospital)
They said: ‘There are no words to express how grateful we are to Theo’s family for the amazing decision they made, which has saved our beautiful Imogen’s life.
WHAT ARE LUNG TRANSPLANTS?
A lung transplant is an operation to remove and replace a diseased lung with a healthy human lung from a donor.
A donor is usually a person who’s died, but in rare cases a section of lung can be taken from a living donor.
Lung transplants aren’t carried out frequently in the UK because of the lack of available donors
The demand is far greater than the available supply of donated lungs. Therefore, a transplant will only be carried out if it’s likely to be successful.
The procedure usually takes between four and 12 hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the operation.
A cut is made in the chest and the damaged lungs removed. The donated lungs are then connected to the relevant airways and blood vessels before the chest is sealed.
It can take at least three months for patients to recover from the major surgery.
‘Without their incredible gift, Imogen wouldn’t be here.
‘Theo lives on through Imogen, and when she hits her different milestones our family will be celebrating not one life but two.’
Imogen appeared healthy at birth but developed a respiratory infection when she was a few weeks old.
She was admitted to a local hospital several times with breathing problems. At one point her condition deteriorated rapidly and she needed urgent treatment to keep her alive.
She was then transferred to the Evelina Hospital in London where a series of tests and scans diagnosed ACD, an extremely rare condition with only a few known cases worldwide.
Doctors put Imogen on the transplant waiting list, despite very low odds that a suitable donor would be found.
But just a week later, the family heard news of a match – in the form of Theo.
Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: ‘Our thoughts are with Theo’s parents and his wider family.
‘They are rightly very proud of the wonderful gift their baby son has been able to give to others.
‘It is incredibly generous to then share their thoughts and the comfort they feel knowing Imogen and her family and other recipients now have hope and life.
‘Their compassion when faced with the terrible tragedy of losing their son, should stand as an example to us all.’