Girl with life-threatening heart condition home for Christmas after transplant

Young Tanesha Ives needed life-saving heart surgery at just five-weeks-old and has been in and out of hospital her whole life, but now she’s finally going home after a successful transplant

Tanesha will be going home for Christmas thanks to a successful heart transplant

A young girl with a life-threatening heart condition is finally going home for Christmas after having a successful transplant.

Tanesha Ives, 12, was born with complete atrioventricular septal defect, a condition that created holes between the right and left sides of her heart.

The brave youngster, who had a pacemaker fitted when she was just 18-months-old, needed life-saving heart surgery when she was just five weeks old and has been in and out of hospital her whole life.

She needed a transplant which has inherent risks, but the operation was a success and now, after recovering from surgery, Tanesha is ready to go home and will be celebrating with her family in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Tanesha and mum Amanda will be celebrating Christmas at home


Lee McLean/SWNS)

What do you think about Tanesha’s Christmas? Let us know in the comments…

Tenesha said: “It was great to go home for Christmas and be a normal kid.”

Mum-of-four Amanda, 47, said: “We are grateful to the donor, and we think about them every day. This wouldn’t have happened without their family.

“It’s just such a big relief to have her home for Christmas.

“That’s all we were aiming for – just to have her home and to have Christmas, just me and my girls in the house at home and being together on Christmas morning.”

Tanesha had a pacemaker fitted at 18-months-old

On October 25, Amanda got the call that a donor was available and the procedure to replace Tanesha’s faulty heart had to take place at once – 100 miles from her home.

She said: “They rang me up at 6:45 in the morning and told me to get to the ward for 8am. I didn’t find out until 11:15am that it was going to be a go.

“They gave her the immunosuppressant pills, gave her the antibiotics, got her in the gown, all done and at 2:15, all the surgeons came for her.

Tanesha was seriously ill and needed a heart transplant

“I was scared, I was crying, I was a mess, to be honest. But I was trying to keep calm for her.

“Tanesha was screaming: ‘I don’t want to go to sleep again mummy. Stop them. Help me’.

“She’s 12 so she knew some of the risks. It was hard to watch it. But she came out of the surgery fighting.”

Even though Tanesha soon managed to move out of the intensive care ward, Amanda had concerns that she wouldn’t make it home for the festive period.

Tanesha said going home was the ‘best Christmas present’

She said: “I did worry she wouldn’t come home for Christmas.

“All the nurses kept saying ‘Ooh you may be home for Christmas, you know!’ and Tanesha was like ‘I bet I’m not going to be’.”

But she said it was a massive “relief” when doctors finally gave her the all-clear said she would be headed home to spend the holidays with her sister and mother.

Amanda said the little girl’s medical woes began at birth when doctors found she had a condition that created holes between the right and left sides of her heart.

Tanesha Ives with mum Amanda Bell, and sister Ashante.


Lee McLean/SWNS)

More problems surfaced later when Tanesha needed a permanent pacemaker fitted aged 18 months and later caught life-threatening sepsis following further heart surgery.

Despite these difficulties, she seemed to be making steady progress but had another scare in 2015 when she stopped breathing in her sleep.

Amanda said: “It was a shock for me and my family. It wasn’t picked up in pregnancy, so I was just thrown into the congenital heart defects world.

“She had a good couple of years where she was in and out with infections, but nothing major to do with her heart until 2015 when she stopped breathing in her sleep.

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“I was up breastfeeding my younger daughter at the time when she stopped breathing. She’s usually a noisy breather in her sleep, and I couldn’t hear her.

“I shook her and started screaming her name, and she started to fit. Then I grabbed her and rushed her to the hospital.”

At the end of 2019, Tanesha’s health deteriorated again and doctors began to raise the possibility of a risky heart transplant.

Specialist surgeons at Freeman Hospital Children’s Heart Unit, in Newcastle, later found that her heart was failing and fast-tracked her for a transplant in 2021.

The family are now fundraising to recover costs incurred while looking after Tanesha.

Visit Taneshas hospital and memories fund, organized by Amanda Bell to donate.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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