St Leonards teen who had heart transplant raising money for hospital that saved his life

A teenager and his family are planning to hold a charity event to raise money for a hospital that saved his life.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 10:00 am
Shelley Rowse with son Billy Gladstone-Rowse pictured in their garden in St Leonards. SUS-210622-133012001

Billy Gladstone-Rowse, 16, of St Leonards, became unwell with sudden heart failure and had to eventually have a heart transplant.

He spent six weeks in hospital before being discharged on his 17th birthday.

Billy and his family are now planning to do a sponsored walk from Bexhill seafront to Hastings Old Town in September in aid of the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge where the teenager received his transplant.

Billy’s mother, Shelley Rowse, said: “Billy became on unwell the end of March. After two phone calls to 111 and the doctors, I decided to take Billy to the Conquest Hospital on April 10. He deteriorated very quickly and Billy was transferred to the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge on Tuesday, April 13.

“Billy was in heart failure. He was fitted with an BiVAD (external heart pump) to keep him alive until a suitable heart donor became available. He was one of two people in the country to be fitted on the BiVAD machine.

“On the morning of April 27, one year to the day Billy’s 23-year-old cousin saved the life of a young boy by being a heart donor herself, we received the news that they had found a donor heart for my son.

“Billy was in theatre for more than 10 hours for this operation.

“It was a slow process but day by day Billy became stronger and he was then fitted with a pacemaker on May 19.

“Billy spent 19 days in critical care and 19 days on a ward, 41 days in total leaving hospital on his 17th birthday.

“We are planning on doing a five-mile sponsored walk from Bexhill seafront to Hastings Old Town on Saturday, September 25 to raise awareness for donors and to raise money for the amazing critical care unit at the Royal Papworth Hospital that saved my son’s life.

“Every day I give thanks to my son’s heart donor and family because without this selfless decision my son wouldn’t have had a second chance. We were truly blessed with all the amazing staff who looked after Billy at the Royal Papworth. They are simply amazing true-life angels.”