Transplant girl comes face-to-face with own heart
Three months to the day after the transplant that saved her life, Jennifer Sutton had a close encounter with her old heart yesterday.
She first became ill five years ago and was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy, which leaves the heart chambers unable to fill with blood properly because of muscle stiffness. The only treatment is a transplant.
The 23-year-old described the moment she was reunited with the organ, on display at the Wellcome Collection in London, as "slightly surreal, but amazing".
Miss Sutton, from Ringwood, Hants, agreed to display the organ at The Heart exhibition to raise awareness of donations and restrictive cardiomyopathy, the disease that would have killed her. She said her first reaction when she saw her heart was, "yuk".
"It was slightly surreal but amazing at the same time to see the object that has caused me so much pain and anguish in the flesh.
"I was really curious and excited to see it but at the same time I am trying very hard to love the heart I have now, and keep that going."
The exhibition, which examines the symbolic and cultural significance of the heart, as well as medical understanding of the organ, runs until Sept 16.