What's Happening in West Central London blog

Award nomination for brave Hanwell teenager

Teenager Lilit Movsisyan remains undefeated and is proving to be an inspiration after she lost a leg when she was struck by a virus that left her in a coma.

The virus attacked the 19 year old’s heart on her way home from an interview at Oxford University last year. Despite losing a leg, having a mechanical replacement and being close to death just a year ago, the brave teenager is determined to continue her career at one of the world’s most prestigious universities.

Melanie Rosenblatt, who heads Brentside’s Senior Leadership Team, said: “There are many things about Lilit that make her stand out from the crowd: her musical talent and the duets she would play with her twin sister Anni at many school functions, her dedication and commitment to learning and achieving, a feature that inspired Oxford University to offer a place.

“But for the staff and students of Brentside High School, what makes Lilit stand out from the crowd is her amazing drive to aim high and refuse to be defeated by anything in her way. And what amazes me most is that after all this young woman has been through, I have only ever seen Lilit beam from ear to ear.”

Lilit spoke of the day that the virus struck her: “I had gone for my interview in Oxford and while I was in the train I felt a bit weak and had to get off at Reading where I collapsed. I called mum, who thought maybe I had been drinking at my 18th birthday the day before, and an ambulance was called. I ended up in Reading hospital by which time I could hardly breathe.”

Tests concluded that she suffered from myocarditis, a virus which attacks the heart. She said: “They had to resuscitate me for 59 minutes – normally they only try for 30 – but they didn’t want to give up on me.”

She was in a coma for two weeks and had to have her leg amputated because of poor circulation.

Lilit, from Hanwell, said: “They woke me up on January 3 to ask me if they could amputate my leg and said I would be more mobile if they did, otherwise I would just have to drag it around. I kept forgetting so they had to tell me again and again. It didn’t seem real at first but I just get on with it because you just do. It’s a bit frustrating at times but I am much better compared to how I was; I could hardly move, breathe or eat. I could just touch my chin with my finger.

“I would have been more upset had it been my arm or fingers as I play the piano and violin. It must have been much harder for my family as they didn’t know if I would be brain-damaged or make it all but they have all been so supportive, especially my sister Anni and everyone at school has been fantastic. No one has ever made fun of me. People stop me in the street to ask about my leg. It doesn’t bother me. This has brought me closer to people. I get lots of positives; I’ve learned a lot about people and appreciate life a bit more.”

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