Catherine's story

Catherine standing outside GOSH

When Catherine MacLachlan was a teenager, she was rushed to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) suffering from a serious heart condition.Now Catherine and her family are helping to raise funds towards pioneering research into childhood cardiac conditions.

Catherine's story

As most 15 year old girls would, Catherine started thinking about what she wanted to do with her future and the amazing opportunities she had in front of her. Unfortunately and unexpectedly, Catherine’s heart went into failure.

Catherine alerted her family when she had noticed her heart was beating faster than normal. She was rushed to her local hospital in Jersey where she was immediately admitted to their intensive care unit and 2 days later she was flown by air ambulance to GOSH.Catherine - Love Hearts appeal, Summer 2012 Lifeline

"I was 15 years old and, up until then, had been living a completely normal active life.The wards were incredibly busy, but the staff always tried to make me feel as comfortable as possible. I managed to go back home but my condition rapidly deteriorated, and during a procedure to insert a pacemaker I became very unwell.

"When I next woke up, a week later, I had undergone a heart transplant. During the time that I was waiting for transplantation I was on a ventilator on the cardiac critical care unit. My family were with me the whole time and thankfully, a heart was donated. It's given me a new life. The generosity of the donor and their family cannot be described.”

Saying thank you

To celebrate turning 21, Catherine and her family set up The Love Hearts Appeal in 2011 to raise funds towards a brand new cardiac critical care unit. Along with some dedicated supporters, they were able to hit their target in just one year! As well as taking part in the 3 Cities Cycle from London to Brussels via Amsterdam, the Love Hearts team have taken the plunge with skydives and hosted many fundraising Barn Dances in Jersey. The MacLachlan family have also raised money through their hospital bed push through the streets of St Helier Jersey.

Love Hearts cycle challenge Catherine went on to study Modern Languages at Durham University and it was here that she met author Bill Bryson and recruited him as a patron of The Love Hearts Appeal.

Now graduated, Catherine's passion for GOSH has not wavered, and she has since taken up a Speech and Language therapy placement at the Institute of Children's Health, the hospital's research partner.