The Patterson family lost one daughter to heart disease – then a second daughter, Breagha, needed a heart transplant

Please give generously today to help save more lives.

Heart transplant is, without a doubt, the most effective treatment for advanced heart disease.

Sadly for the Patterson family from Goulburn in New South Wales, one of their daughters died as a result of dilated cardiomyopathy while waiting on the transplant list for a heart to be donated.

Then tragic news hit the same family a second time. Shortly after losing their 17 year-old daughter, their eldest daughter, Breagha, was diagnosed with the same condition.

About two weeks after my sister’s funeral, Professor Diane Fatkin from the Victor Chang Institute checked the whole family for a genetic link to the condition,” recalls Breagha. “Unfortunately, I tested positive and would need a heart transplant”.

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But Breagha was lucky. A heart became available.

The heart that was donated for Breagha had stopped beating. Without a moment’s delay, it was able to be connected to a machine and re-animated with oxygenated blood pumped through it until it could reach Breagha at the hospital.

This technique, dubbed ‘heart-in-a-box’, the heart was brought back to life, then placed on a machine, before it was injected with a ground breaking preservation solution – that took scientists at the Victor Chang Institute 12 years to perfect

Just look at the benefits of this preservation solution that our scientists so painstakingly developed. It:

  • Reduce the amount of damage to the heart
  • Makes the heart more resilient to transplantation, and
  • Improves the functioning of the heart when it is restarted

I will support life-saving heart research 

Another huge benefit of the preservation solution is that it dramatically expands the pool of donor hearts available for transplant. In other words, fewer people will die while waiting for a heart. This is all due to the results-focused research the Victor Chang Institute pursues every day. 

Breagha’s life has been saved and with your support we can continue to save more lives. Your generous gift today will fund innovative research into the detection and treatment of heart diseases.

There was an extra challenge with Breagha’s heart transplant. The heart donated to her had to travel for six hours in order to reach her in hospital.

There was added tension during four of those six hours, because there was no communication while the donor heart was transplanted on an interstate flight to Sydney. 

Please, will you support the Victor Chang Institute with a gift today?  Our research is carefully uncovering every element of heart disease which ultimately leads to life-changing discoveries. 

I will support life-saving heart research 

As it happened, despite everything, Breagha’s surgery was a total success and her reanimated heart began beating on its own within seconds.

Professor Fatkin’s laboratory is now in desperate need of additional funding to progress our life-saving research. People like Breagha owe their lives to the research that enabled her heart transplantation.

“I feel really, really good since my transplant,” says Breagha. “I have more energy and I don’t feel sick all the time anymore. I am very thankful.”

Breagha is living proof of the value of cardiac research. It literally saves lives. Through heart surgery, Dr Victor Chang was able to save hundreds.  But he knew that through research, millions could be saved. 

Your generous donation today will continue Victor Chang’s legacy – please support the work of today’s brightest heart researchers. Your donation will help save more lives.

Just think of Breagha and the wonderful job done by her doctors and the scientists involved – and it is all possible, only because of compassionate people just like you supporting vital research. Click here to donate.

By donating to the Victor Chang Institute you are doing all you can to save lives.

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