Eliza Bell and her family and friends have got an exciting year planned of fundraising events all to raise money for the Charity’s DCD Appeal. 20 year old Eliza is currently staying in Royal Papworth Hospital on the urgent heart transplant list but is not letting this stop her from getting involved. Eliza and team have named their fundraising plan ‘Eliza’s Let the Beat Drop’.

Eliza’s team are taking part in a number of fundraising events over the year which include Racket Ball tournaments, a cycle event, a half marathon, Super Spartan race and even a charity trivia evening which is taking place in Australia!

Eliza was born with a rare genetic heart condition called Danon's Disease, which was diagnosed when she was 12. Up until the age of 18 Eliza was able to live a relatively normal life, completing her A-levels and embarking on a degree at the University of Falmouth. Unfortunately throughout the first term at University her health deteriorated considerably, forcing her to put her education on hold. Since then Eliza's cardiomyopathy has progressed causing her to go in to heart failure.

Eliza explains how she feels to be on the urgent transplant list: “Sometimes you forget you’re even on it as being in Hospital just becomes routine. Then you have sudden jolts of realisation that this is actually going to happen and you’re not just in hospital for the more usual heart problems I’ve been contending with. Sometimes I'm nervous, sometimes I'm worried I won't get a good match. But most of the time I try and stay optimistic. Due to my height and the nature of my blood group I could have been on the normal waiting list for years.  Being on the urgent transplant list means I can now get the job done!”

My view is I still have the rest of my life to live and I'm still so young. This is merely a small storm in a large ocean. It won't last forever.

Speaking to Eliza three weeks since she came into Royal Papworth she told us: “The care I have received here has been outstanding. Everyone is so friendly and it feels like I'm part of the Mallard family. The fact that I live in Cornwall means I'm going to be away from home for quite a long time. Having that extra support and genuine care from staff really does change the whole hospital experience. The Nurses and Doctors have also been really positive about all of the fundraising which is really nice. I already have a list of lovely nurses wanting to join in with the fundraising effort is great!”

The group are fundraising for the DCD Appeal which is an incredible new technique pioneered by surgeons at Royal Papworth which allows hearts to be transplanted that were previously too damaged to be used. Eliza explains her motivations for fundraising for the DCD Appeal in particular: “Simon one of the Transplant Registrars visited me on the ward and explained everything about the DCD box, the appeal and the lack of funding to fund these incredible boxes. The fact that this box increased the amount of donor organs available at Papworth by 35-40% I think is just incredible! Statistics which are only going to grow! This gave me drive to raise as much awareness of this incredible machine whilst helping to sustain the future of their use here at Royal Papworth through fundraising.”

As well as planning a number of fundraising activities over the year, Eliza also has big plans for life after her heart transplant. “For the past year my heart failure stopped me in my future tracks. It has been a very strange time where I couldn't work or go to university. My future seemed blank. Before this I was very career and education focused and always had a plan. Now living with heart failure I have learnt to live in the moment and be more patient. It's like I created this mechanism to stop myself from becoming consumed by what I can't do.”

“Most of the Fundraising for 'Eliza's Let The Beat Drop' is happening over summer 2019. Hopefully by then I will be out of hospital and able to help support all of the other fundraisers in their sporting, baking, quizzing efforts! Having this to plan has actually really helped me to learn that I can look ahead again and be excited about things in the future without the worry of another hospital drama or being too ill to join in. Aside from that I would love to go to university to study politics, perhaps live in a city. Honestly after this the choices will be pretty much endless!!”

The Charity is so grateful to Eliza and team for the amazing efforts that they are going to, to fundraise for the DCD Appeal. Any money raised will make such an incredible difference to help transform and save the life of someone in need.

Support Eliza and Visit her JustGiving Page today: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chris-durham6