12-year-old Chloe has been treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for cystic fibrosis since she was eight months old. Her story features in the third series of the BBC Great Ormond Street documentary.
After Chloe’s initial admission to GOSH, she did well and didn't need to come back to the hospital until she started school. From then on, the time she had to spend in hospital gradually increased as her condition worsened, and she caught bug after bug.
Coming to GOSH
For the three years before Chloe joined the lung transplant list, she was spending three weeks at GOSH every eight weeks.
“The possibility that Chloe might need a transplant was always in the back of my mind,” says her mum Tasha. However, they knew the wait for donor lungs could be a long one, especially as Chloe has a rare blood group which meant it would be harder to find a match.
Despite all the challenges she faced, Chloe never missed a day of school, apart from when she was in hospital. Even while she was waiting on the transplant list she kept going to school, but her condition meant that she didn't have the energy to go out with her friends.
Having the transplant
Chloe had been waiting for almost a year when her family got the call they had been waiting for – donor lungs had been found. Unfortunately, Chloe didn't respond well to her transplant, or to the drugs she had to take to stop her body rejecting her new lungs, which were not a perfect match in size and were leaking fluid. Chloe became seriously ill in intensive care.
In order to stop the leaks and help her new lungs attach to her body, Chloe had to undergo emergency surgery during which surgeons inserted medical talcum powder onto the surface of her lungs. Following her emergency surgery, Chloe’s condition slowly started to improve and three months after her transplant she was able to go home.
Life now for Chloe
Before Chloe had her transplant she had very little energy and didn't want to go out, but she's now living life to the full. She made the most of the Easter holidays earlier this year with new activities almost every day, from lots of shopping and hanging out with friends to roller-skating and visiting Thorpe Park. Chloe loves school and is back full-time and taking extra advanced dance lessons.
“It’s incredible to think it has really happened – she’s got a second chance,” says Tasha. “I owe the team at GOSH everything. They’re like a family and the doctors are just amazing. I trust them 110 per cent when it comes to my child.”