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Our pair of hearts

Five years ago our daughters Jayne then 9 and Nicole 11 received heart transplants within months of each other. Nicole had been diagnosed with dilated cardio myopathy in 2000 and had been on treatment ever since. But Jayne became ill very suddenly towards the end of 2005 and was air lifted to the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. We were told that she too had dilated cardio myopathy and needed an urgent heart transplant to survive.

Within 11 days Jayne had a heart transplant but her recovery was slow and she needed intense rehabilitation for many weeks. We moved the whole family from Tasmania and set up 'home' in Brunswick, where our other 3 daughters attended school.

After 3 months Jayne was allowed home to Brunswick. Unfortunately, Nicole's health then deteriorated and within 3 months she had a Ventricular Assist Device fitted while she waited for a heart transplant. About 6 months after Jayne's operation, Nicole received her new heart and was discharged from hospital within a week. After 11 months we finally returned home, forever grateful for the wonderful care we received at the Royal Children's Hospital.

Both Jayne and Nicole now have a normal life, like any other teenagers. They have to take regular medication, but they make the most of every day. Nicole hopes to become either a hairdresser or cook and Jayne is attending high school. They have participated in 3 Australian Transplant Games (2006, 2008 and 2010) and the World Transplant Games on the Gold Coast in 2009, where Nicole won a silver medal in swimming.

If it wasn't for some remarkable people who decided to donate their loved one's organs, we would have lost both our daughters. Our whole family feels that we are so very lucky and we are extremely grateful for those special gifts.