Heart transplant girl, 14, leaves everyone in tears on brave return to football pitch

Kayleigh Llewellyn, 14, is now able to return to school and enjoying playing football again (Image: Daily Mirror)

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A plucky teen played her first football game after a heart transplant – and lifted the league trophy for her team.

The Mirror told how Kayleigh Llewellyn wrote a letter to the family of the 19-year-old donor to say thank you for saving her life.

Kayleigh celebrated her 14th birthday last week by raising £2,500 in her memory.

Then she lined up for NSG Panthers in Washington, Tyne and Wear, in their title decider.

Kayleigh was “over the moon” to play the last 10 minutes before lifting the U15s Russell Foster Youth League Division One title.

Have you undergone a heart transplant? Let us know at [email protected]

Kayleigh returned to the pitch for the final 10 minutes of the league-winning match
(Image: Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

And Chester-le-Street Amazon Divas, who lost 6-0, applauded her on Saturday.

Kayleigh’s dad Shaun, 52, of Seaham, Co Durham, said: “It was very, very emotional. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”

Her team thanked medics and the donor family for making the day special. Coach Barry Temple added: “It was a big celebration and it was emotional to see Kayleigh collect the trophy.”

Kayleigh left everyone in tears at the end of the game
(Image: Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

The teen makes jewellery and exchanged precious gifts with her donor family.

In a letter last year, she said: “I promise to take good care of my heart, you will all be part of my life for ever.”

Kayleigh was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and was wired up to machines to pump her blood and help her breathe.

She spent more than 100 days in Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital before her op in 2019.

The Mirror’s Change the Law for Life crusade helped to bring in the opt-out system last year.

Max and Keira’s Law is named after Max Johnson, 13, of Cheshire, and his tragic donor Keira Ball.

Specialist nurse Angie Scales said: “We are so grateful to every donor.”

Visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 303 2094 for more information.

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