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Rebecca Henderson: Transplant hope for rucksack heart woman

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A woman who carries an artificial heart in a rucksack after her own organ was removed because of cancer has been added to the transplant list.

Rebecca Henderson, 24, has been given the green light to receive a donor heart after scans showed she has been clear of cancer for a year.

The Oxford University post-graduate student is on the “urgent” list and could get a new heart in weeks.

“At no point did it ever occur to me to give up,” she told the BBC.

“No matter how hard it is for me, even if it is hard for me, it will then be easier for the next person.

“I had my sister’s wedding and I had to get to that, I have other friends’ weddings, I’ve got my mum, my dad, and I’m not going to be outlived by the dog.”

Ms Henderson is one of two people in the UK with an artificial heart.

In October she returned to study at Oxford – along with her parents, who are on standby in case the 7kg machine stops and the batteries need changing.

Ms Henderson said: “If anything goes wrong with the machine, they are the ones who can do the changeover in four minutes and save my life.”

Heart surgeon Stephen Westaby said Ms Henderson “must be the most courageous young woman”.

He congratulated her on the news there had been no sign the cancer had spread.

“Miniscule numbers of people” ever had cancer in the heart, he said, and it was the “most fearful condition”.

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BBC News – Health

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