A dad who survived eight heart attacks after collapsing aged just 16 has been told that he needs a transplant or his timebomb ticker could explode.
George Pollard, 23, suffered a rare form of cardiac arrest on New Year’s Eve in 2008 and has spent the past seven years being treated.
He has now been told that his only chance of survival have a heart transplant, because his broken organ could stop working altogether at any time.
George, from Northgate, West Sussex, said: “When I was told that all my other options had failed and I was left with a transplant as my final hope, I was quite disappointed.
“The thing with heart transplants is there is no guarantee that they will work, the only option is being left to die if my condition gets worse.
“Every time I see my consultant we never really talk about death, but I still don’t want anything to be sugar-coated.”
The young dad-of-one was left in intensive care for three weeks aged 16 after he suddenly collapsed in the middle of the street.
A security guard kept George alive by giving him CPR until the ambulance arrived, who then kept him on a defibrillator.
He said: “I had so many people to thank. Because I was so young the ambulance service kept defibrillating me.
“There was a security guard at Somerfield who gave me CPR and kept oxygen going through to my brain.
“At first everyone was told to say their goodbyes and prepare for the worst.
“No one knew what was wrong with me, but when I woke up in mid-January there was all this coverage in the local news and support. The nurses called me a miracle child.”
George suffers from a rare form of cardiomyopathy, called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy – an inherited heart disease.
While the condition crushed his dreams of joining the Army, he married his childhood sweetheart Jess and the pair have a two-year-old son, Oliver.
He said: “These last seven-and-a-half years have been like no other.
“At times I never thought I would have them. You go through bad days and sometimes think ‘is this it?’
“There was one time I was sitting watching TV and my heart was beating at 200 beats per minute, all because my pacemaker was at the wrong setting.
“But I’m lucky to have the life I have at the moment.
“My wife Jess has been by my side ever since we were 15, and I got the feeling that I can’t ever let a girl like this go. So we got married last June. We have a son who I really want to see grow up.”
George is now hoping to raise funds to help the hospital which has treated him build a new ward.
He added: “I would go to the ward and speak to other people waiting for transplants, and they would look so much weaker than me.
“I told the nurse once that I felt like a fraud being put on the waiting list, but she explained that each human body takes differently to pacemakers, some are more healthy than others.
“The hospital has 18 beds at an intensive therapy unit, all the equipment around one bed costs £64,550.
“They need a new ward so that it can help treat up to 250 other patients in the region.
“The ward is so small that at times they have had to turn away organs because there isn’t sufficient space to store surplus organs for later use.
“My target is £5,000. I just want to make a difference while I have the time on my hands after leaving work.
“The thing with life is it is very unpredictable and you never know what’s around the corner.
“We all end up in situations we never imagined we would be in.”
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