Both co-founders have a passion and wealth of experience and knowledge within the world of Transplantation, Emma as a carer and Kevin as a heart transplant recipient.
Emma's experience and knowledge of Transplantation started when her late husband Jonathan Osborne sadly passed away after receiving a lung transplant in 2013 aged 47 years old.
From the onset of Jonathan's diagnosis of Pulmonary Fibrosis, Emma set out to research the disease and to evaluate all eventualities of care and surgery. This subsequently resulted in a successful lung transplant at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. Whilst caring for her husband and juggling four children who were based in Bristol it became apparent to her that despite first class care, the pressures this put on family life were immense.
Psychological care is a passion of Emma's and making sure that there is a holistic approach to care and communication is key. With ever increasing pressure on NHS funds and particularly around Psychological support, it is paramount to all family members and the patient throughout the whole individual transplant journey.
The words "roller coaster of a ride" are words you will hear time and time again if listed for Transplant. Emma wanted to use all of her experiences and turn a sad outcome into something very positive for other people going through the same journey.
Kevin was born with an extremely rare condition called Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Greater Arteries (CCTGA) with Pulmonary Stenosis and VSD, which accounts for just 1% of all heart disease. Unfortunately, at birth this was only diagnosed as VSD.
Kevin lived a fairly normal childhood, until the age of 8 when as he describes "I couldn't keep up with the other kids, I was blue, breathless and starting to struggle." And states he vividly remembers a consultant telling him "It's time to put a little patch on that hole of yours."
After 16 hours of surgery Kevin was taken to intensive care. A priest came from Liverpool Cathedral, who pinned upon him a relic of Saint Padre Pio, gave him a blessing and asked for a miracle, as a miracle was all he had left according to the surgeon who waited with his family during the blessings. After his last rights his family had a 24 hour presence by his bed.
Kevin survived, however since then he had a further five open heart operations, one stroke, three pacemakers, a defibrillator and endocarditis four times.
In January 2012, living with heart failure, Kevin was referred to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle due to one of the leaflets of his prosthetic tricuspid value being stuck in the shut position. With it being considered too risky to carry out further surgery on his heart, he was told the only remaining option was a heart transplant.
A year on in March 2013, Kevin in the final stage of heart failure, was told he may not live to see Christmas and told to sort his business and more importantly spend some good family time with his loved ones.
After being admitted into the Freeman Hospital in March, he awoke disturbed on the third of May. After going for a walk and visiting the hospital canteen, he felt as he describes "a constant go back to the ward noise in my head" beckoned back. He told his favourite nurse, Emily, it's going to happen today" to which she responded "Well, I'd love to be the one to take you down pet, but I've not got anything to tell you I'm afraid."
One hour later, a coordinator in scrubs and Emily walked in, he knew it was happening. His wife Jo made it to the hospital in record time, and despite his operation taking 13 hours it was a success. Four hours later Kevin was Facetiming his children.
Kevin says just before the operation "I was the calmest I had ever been. Padre Pio was with me, as the relic has been every time I've had any operation or procedures."
Kevin adds "My life has been blessed by having an amazing family. Jo has been an amazing Mum to our boys and has kept me on the right path using her well-practiced tough love skills when needed. I would have been a mess without her, probably dead, and our extended family are always on-hand to look after my boys when required. Without that support we would have been lost."
Kevin has gone on to cycle a series of fundraising journeys including a 342 mile cycle with others, from Bristol to Newcastle in memory of Kevin's donor John, who was killed in a cycling accident.