Monday, February 9, 2009

The 3-year-old girl who desperately needs a heart transplant-like her twin sister

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Rare condition: Three-year-old Katie (left) has had a transplant and twin sister Lauren (right) needs one too. [Agencies]

With their angelic smiles these adorable twin sisters appear to be like any other healthy and happy three year old girls.

But little Lauren Williams is in desperate need of a heart transplant, her twin Katie is recovering from a heart swap and their mother also needs the life-saving surgery. The family have been diagnosed with the extremely rare heart condition dilated cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart to enlarge and pump blood less efficiently.

Katie was diagnosed at just three months old and got her new heart a few months later but she will need a second transplant in 10 years. Doctors originally thought Lauren had escaped the potentially fatal condition but now she's been diagnosed as being in the early stages as well - as has her mother Louise Snape, 31. Louise said: 'We live in limbo land. We have to take everyday as it comes.

'I lost my father to the condition and my sister, cousin and step brother have all died. 'The girls were a miracle and they mean the world to us but I can't think in weeks, I have to think in days and that's something I had to learn early on as a mum.'

Both Louise and Lauren need transplants as soon as possible.

Miss Snape grew up without knowing she had the condition because her father decided it would be kinder not to tell her.

She had to give up work after she was diagnosed when the girls were four months old.

The sisters are both on medication and although Katie is recovering well from her operation, she still needs to be fed through a tube.

Louise, from Middleton, Greater Manchester,said: 'A lot more needs to be done to recognise these conditions as early as possible.

'I think all babies should be screened if they are born into a family with a history of heart problems.'

Her plea comes as the British Heart Foundation launches an appeal for a ?113,000 screening machine for the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. Dad Simon, 40, gave up his factory job during Louise's difficult pregnancy and has cared for his family at home since. He said: 'The hardest part is watching them struggle and take their medication, but the girls are amazing and understand so much. They're an inspiration.'

Taken From : China Daily

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