Nine year old Kori gets ready for Christmas after second heart transplant

Kori spent last Christmas in Freeman Hospital fighting for his life, this year he is looking forward to spending it at home with his family

A Derbyshire boy is looking forward to tucking into Christmas dinner after undergoing his second lifesaving heart transplant.

Nine year old Kori Parkin-Stovell, from Ripley, spent last Christmas in a hospital bed, unable to eat, drink and so weak that he couldn’t open his presents. His mum, Kerrylee Stovell, watched helplessly as her son fought for his life as his second heart went into failure.

Born with a rare heart condition, Kori had endured countless operations to keep him alive and eventually in 2018 was listed on the urgent heart transplant list. Thankfully, he received the gift of life and 2019 looked hopeful as he recovered well and even started to attend school. Suddenly in November 2019 Kori went into heart failure and was rushed back to Newcastle, miles away from home. Medics at the Freeman Hospital tried to stabilise his condition by fitting a pacemaker and using mechanical heart pumps (known as  ventricular assist device VADs) including two berlin hearts. After exhausting all options, Kori’s only hope for survival was for a second heart transplant, a second donor heart. For six months Kori remained in hospital, during which time he received a heart. Throughout this time he had his mum Kerrylee right by his side as she, along with her partner John and daughters Ebony and Ostarra, was given a place to stay by The Sick Children’s Trust at its Scott House.

As the nation plans a different sort of Christmas this year, for families with a seriously ill child in hospital Christmas always looks different. By giving a family with a child in hospital a place to stay, families like Kori’s can be together at Christmas. Kerrylee said:

 “Kori became very sick suddenly and was rushed to hospital where he literally fought for his life for a month. We were told he would die but he defied all the odds.

“We were told that there was a room becoming available in Scott House run by The Sick Children’s Trust and we knew we would be in hospital for Christmas when we were told that Kori needed a second heart transplant. Having a big family room in Scott House meant that both my daughters could come to stay. Without the ‘Home from Home’ and the emotional support offered I think I would’ve had a full nervous breakdown finding out my son had to have yet another heart transplant.

“On Christmas day, Kori was in intensive care and he was very, very poorly, but the day was made special by everyone from Scott House, the doctors and nurses who didn’t mind working, and parents who had lost their own children. There were decorations, advent calendars and lights everywhere, along with hampers, not just for the kids, but for parents too which made us really emotional and we felt so immensely humbled.

“After six months in hospital, Kori was allowed home. He is still recovering, but he is alive, cheeky and a pure joy! We’re looking forward to Christmas – Kori wants to be a chef so he’s asked for a chef’s hat so he can help with Christmas dinner this year. He will also have his own tree, in his own bedroom, which he is very excited about! Whatever we do as long as we are all together that’s all that matters.”

The Sick Children’s Trust wants to keep families together by their child’s hospital bedside, and with a donation of £30 can do that. Jane Featherstone, Chief Executive at The Sick Children’s Trust, said:

“We are so pleased that we could be there for Kerrylee  and her family and that Kori is doing well and is looking forward to Christmas at home.”

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