Theo Omondi passed away when he was only 41 days old after a sudden illness. But his lungs and kidneys gave a new lease on life to two people in an incredible show of solidarity.
Theo became the youngest lung donor ever in the United Kingdom His parents have now spoken of their pride that two young persons will live on because of their son.
Imogen Bolton – five months old at the time – received Theo’s lungs, while a young adult was given his two kidneys.
Imogen underwent a seven-hour operation at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital earlier this year. She became Britain’s youngest double lung transplant patient after the diagnosis of the rare illness Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia (ACD). The illness prevented her lungs from forming properly, but after the successful transplant she is now well and recovering at home.
Theo’s parents, who wished to remain anonymous, described the donation as a “once-in-a-lifetime chance meeting of two little people bravely and and beautifully fighting for life”.
They revealed: ‘We believe he would have wanted to help others if he had been able to grow up and make the decision himself.
‘We are proud of what Theo could do not just for Imogen, but also for a young adult who now runs their body with his two tiny kidneys.’
‘We know that every breath Imogen takes is a breath for our son. Every birthday Imogen celebrates is also a celebration of Theo’s birth.
‘We imagine how perhaps someday Imogen and Theo can blow out his birthday candles together.’
Imogen’s parents, Hayley and Jason Bolton, praised Theo’s ‘gift’ and urged people everywhere to join the organ donation register.
They said: ‘There are no words to express how grateful we are to Theo’s family for the amazing decision they made, which has saved our beautiful Imogen’s life.
‘Without their incredible gift, Imogen wouldn’t be here.
‘Theo lives on through Imogen, and when she hits her different milestones our family will be celebrating not one life but two.’
Imogen came to this world healthy but developed a respiratory infection after a few weeks. After they admitted her to a hospital with respiratory problems, her condition started deteriorating rapidly and her life was at peril.
She was then transferred to the Evelina Hospital in London. A series of tests and scans diagnosed Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia – an extremely rare condition with only several known cases globally.
With Imogen placed on the transplant waiting list, things were not looking good. It wasn’t until several weeks later that the news about a possible match – Theo Omondi – came through.
Sally Johnson, the director of organ donation and transplantation at Britain’s National Health Service said: ‘Our thoughts are with Theo’s parents and his wider family.
‘They are rightly very proud of the wonderful gift their baby son has been able to give to others.
‘It is incredibly generous to then share their thoughts and the comfort they feel knowing Imogen and her family and other recipients now have hope and life.
‘Their compassion when faced with the terrible tragedy of losing their son, should stand as an example to us all.’
What is a lung transplant?
A lung transplant is a surgical operation in which a diseased lung is removed and replaced with a healthy lung from a suitable human donor.
In most cases, the donor is a person who has died, although in rare cases, they take a section of lung from a living donor.
The lack of available donors in the United Kingdom means doctors can rarely carry out lung transplants in the UK, where the demand is far greater than the supply. Therefore, they only take cases with a high likelihood of success.
The usual time for the completion of a lung transplant procedure ranges between four and twelve hours and it can take up to three months for the patient to recover.