Family’s joy as boy, 2, celebrates birthday at home after heart transplant


A tiny tot who was given a new heart aged just one has celebrated a birthday his family feared he might never see.

Ethan Eaves spent much of his young life on hospital wards after being diagnosed with an enlarged heart aged eight months.

Three months later, in November 2019, he was being kept alive by a mechanical heart outside his body.

But following a transplant late last year he has made a great recovery and celebrated his second birthday at home with his family.

Ethan’s dad Richard, 38, has also been saved by a heart transplant.

He suffers from the genetic condition right ventricular cardiomyopathy, which claimed the life of his own father aged 35.

Little Ethan with mum Leila, dad Richard, sisters Alanah and Maia
Little Ethan with mum Leila, dad Richard, sisters Alanah and Maia

Richard, an engineer, said: “Ethan’s progress has been amazing.

“He’s gone from hardly being able to stand to run[ning] around everywhere, jumping over the sofas and shouting at everyone.

“He’s a normal toddler and is just non-stop all day. He has so much energy. Before we were travelling in to hospital daily. Looking back I don’t know how we got through it.”

For Ethan’s birthday treat, the family turned their living room in Luton, Bedfordshire, into a play area with toy animals, a ball pit and padded floors for him and sisters Mia, 12, and Alanah, eight, to enjoy.

Mum Roselelia said: “Never does a day go by that we don’t think about Ethan’s donor. What is a day of celebration for us is a day of remembrance for their little one.

“We will never forget what they have done for us and Ethan. He has been able to celebrate his second birthday at home – something we never thought would have been possible.”

Transplants like Ethan’s are now more likely after the Mirror’s successful three-year campaign to change the law in England to one of presumed consent.

However, families still have the final say, and Richard appealed for more people to discuss organ donation.

He said: “We just want people to have that ‘what if’ conversation before it’s too late.”

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