Toddler Ellie Beale has started nursery and celebrated her third birthday less than a year after being given a life-saving heart transplant.
Ellie, of Goring, is enjoying making new friends at Wallingford’s Mongewell Park Nursery after fighting for her life at Great Ormond Street Hospital 12 months earlier.
Her mother Debbie has now appeared on BBC Two’s Great Ormond Street documentary series to highlight the importance of organ donation.
She said: “Since she got home, she certainly does not look like a child who is ill. She has so much energy, it is absolutely lovely to see.
“It was really brilliant, she has gone through an awful lot and was so excited. She talks a lot about making new friends and sharing toys and she will actually get a chance to do that now.”
Ellie became ill 18 months ago and was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy – a condition that causes weakening of the heart and is thought to have been caused by a virus.
She was put into an induced coma and attached to a Berlin Heart, a machine that helps children survive by keeping blood pumping around their systems, while her name was placed on a transplant waiting list.
Her parents waited an agonising five months before Ellie was able to have a heart transplant.
Debbie added: “You start to think, maybe she is not going to be one of the lucky ones. When we went from Oxford to London, we stopped in Goring on the way and I saw her empty cot. I didn’t know if she would ever come home.”