United Kingdom

Charity campaigner and son, three, have survived life-saving organ transplants

They look like any other healthy mother and son enjoying a sunny day in the park.

But Alexe Deane and three-year-old Khari have overcome extraordinary odds to be here today.

Both have survived life-saving organ transplants – a heart for the mother and liver for the boy – while Miss Deane has also battled against lymphoma cancer and endured multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

They look like any other healthy mother and son enjoying a sunny day in the park. But Alexe Deane and three-year-old Khari have overcome extraordinary odds to be here today

Now the miracle pair are a picture of health and living life to the full.

Miss Deane, 25, said: ‘The chances of us both needing a transplant, then me developing this extremely rare cancer... the odds were impossible.

‘It’s a miracle that we got through everything. Subconsciously, I have tried to block it out.

‘But when I look through pictures or videos… I do have to sit and think, how did we go through all of that?’

Their ordeal began soon after Miss Deane – then a student nurse – needed an emergency caesarean section to deliver Khari in 2017.

She woke up in a cardiac ward to be told she had an undiagnosed heart defect and urgently needed a transplant. Four months on, a donor was luckily found and she had a successful operation.

But the following year Khari, who was born with jaundice, fell sick and had to have his gall bladder removed before it was discovered he needed a liver transplant.

The mother was also hit with another blow when she found a lump in her neck, which turned out to be a rare aggressive form of lymphoma associated with transplant patients. 

‘I was in total shock,’ she said. ‘I’d gone through a hard birth, a heart transplant, my son’s operation and learning he needed a transplant, and now I was facing eight rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Their ordeal began soon after Miss Deane – then a student nurse – needed an emergency caesarean section to deliver Khari in 2017. She woke up in a cardiac ward to be told she had an undiagnosed heart defect and urgently needed a transplant

‘It was heart-breaking. But I knew I had to carry on.’ She started chemotherapy in March 2018 and in August Khari, then one, had a liver transplant at London’s King’s College Hospital.

Miss Deane, from Brixton, south London, said she is eternally grateful to the donors who gave her and partner Keelan Blackwood, 27, the chance to see their son grow up.

‘I’m so thankful, you can’t put a price on being able to see your child grow up. It’s priceless and they’ve given me that chance to do that,’ she said. 

‘It makes me so happy to see him healthy.

‘That’s all I’ve wanted since the day he was born. He’s great, just amazing, smart, caring and loving… everything I could ask for in a little boy.’

Miss Deane has now enrolled on a public health course and is campaigning for Cancer Research UK after the charity’s setbacks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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