Help a Heart

Hannah is a 22-year-old biomedical student at Queen Mary's University in London. From a young age she has suffered with Multifocal Atrial Tachycardia, Junctional Tachycardia, Bigeminy, and faulty electrical waves in her heart that causes regular arrhythmias. As well as regularly being admitted to hospital, Hannah regularly has to use a wheelchair to be mobile, which impacts greatly on her day-to-day life.

Nobody fully understands what is going on with Hannah's heart, or why it is so poor. Throughout her life she has had multiple surgeries, and currently has a pacemaker fitted but this isn't working. Her best chance at any sort of recovery is a pair of ground-breaking operations that would destroy the natural electrical rhythm of her heart and replace her current, failing pacemaker with pacing wires that would go into three chambers of her heart. This would hopefully stop the majority of the arrhythmias and pacing issues that cause so many problems. It is a drastic step to take, but the last option that is left after suffering a severe deterioation just over a month ago. 

These various  cardiac problems also have a large impact on her management of her Type-1 Diabetes; hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are difficult for Hannah to identify and treat when she is ill, and although this may not sound important, mistreatment of Diabetes can cause devastating problems in later life, from blindness to amputations

A year ago, Hannah could walk. When she was younger she would regularly run 3km a day, swim, and enjoy an active life. Now, if she can get out of bed, she relies on a wheelchair, and requires assistance with everyday tasks. Many days she can't sit up. Her life has become unidentifiable for her, and has had an impact on her mental health; she feels isolated, depressed, and already suffers from PTSD due to traumatic hospitalisations. 

These operations will transform Hannah's life. She could return to university, finish her degree, and go on to do her Masters in Cardiovascular Science. From there she would be able to get a job and live as normal life as she can. For the short term, Hannah just wants to be able to walk her dog, Chester, and regain some independence. 

The main problem is the cost; on the NHS, Hannah could be waiting for 6-8 weeks until a theatre slot possibly opened up. This wouldn't be soon enough so she is having to go privately. 

The current estimate is over £15,500 + consultant fees + drug fees due to the complexity (changed 27-03-2018)

For a student who cannot work, this is an incredible amount. Even with a loan and her family's help, the pay back is unrealistic in the time given for her. The burden Hannah feels she is putting on her family is causing tremendous guilt, and causing more worry and stress than the actual surgery itself. The option of waiting for an NHS operation is nonviable, and so this is her last chance

We are asking for £5,000, just to try and alleviate some of the stress of paying for this life-changing surgery. It is vital that Hannah has these operations soon, and has the chance to recover without the dark cloud of such a high financial burden. 

Please, even if you cannot donate, spread this so we reach more people who can Help a Heart to reach it's full potential.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Help a Heart 
York, Yorkshire and the Humber, United Kingdom
Hannah Harrison 
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