As fans of Daybreak will have seen this morning, Emmerdale star Kitty McGeever – who plays the role of Lizzie Lakely – is currently in hospital and in urgent need of a heart transplant.
And of course, she’s not alone as there are thousands of people on the NHS transplant list who may well die if they don’t receive a donor organ.
So tonight at 9pm on ITV1, Dermot O’Leary is hosting From The Heart, which will feature many of the stars of the channel’s soaps, including Coronation Street and Emmerdale cast members…
Here’s the show’s synopsis…
The NHS needs organ donors but not enough of us are coming forward to put our names on the Organ Donor Register. In a direct appeal to the nation, ITV is staging a sparkly extravaganza with a serious purpose, to get more volunteers. Dermot O’Leary is tonight’s master of ceremonies in a show that combines songs and comedy with stories from men and womenwho have benefited from organ donation. One of these is Melissa Bell, mum of singer Alexandra Burke, who waited for years for a kidney transplant.
Elsewhere Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie and Harry Enfield will perform, while McFly and Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra supply the music.
Dermot O’Leary presents a one-off entertainment special, in which famous faces gather to pledge their support and raise awareness of the NHS Organ Donor Register. The show features a range of music and comedy from the likes of Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie, Pixie Lott, Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, Outnumbered cast members, Jools Holland and His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, McFly, and Alexandra Burke, whose mother Melissa Bell is also in the studio to tell the story of her four-year wait for a kidney transplant.
With regard to Kitty’s potentially life threatening illness, her health problems – including her blindness – began when she was pregnant with her son Felix. Tragically, he died aged just 15 months old.
Being a diabetic, when she developed the potentially life-threatening condition pre-eclampsia while pregnant, medics tried everything they could to save both Kitty and Felix.
So when Felix was delivered two months early, he spent weeks in a special care baby unit, but when he was four months old, he suddenly became very ill.
Speaking to the Mirror back in 2009, Kitty said, “We were in the car and he stopped breathing.
“I had to try to resuscitate him on the pavement. I ran into McDonald’s and by sheer luck there was a neo-natal nurse in there.
“She got him breathing then I passed out. We were both taken to hospital.
“As soon as we got there, a bad picture began to emerge about his health. The heart problem was worse than they thought and his lungs were in a fragile state.
“After that, I never left his side. By April they said it was terminal and I was in pieces.”
The baby’s doctors were unable to pinpoint exactly what was wrong, and could only tell Kitty and her family to expect the worst.
She said, “They’d think he was going to die on a certain day and then he wouldn’t.
“They would say I should consider withdrawing support, switching off his ventilator, but I never would.
“A week later he’d be eating chocolate pudding and laughing, and I’d be left thinking, ‘what if I had said yes?’”
Kitty’s own health began to deteriorate at that time.
She explained, “My kidneys weren’t working so my body was filling with fluid and I went into heart failure.
“I realised there was something wrong with my eyes and went to see the specialist.
“They told me I had this condition that would usually take five to 10 years to take my sight but it took five months because of all the stress.”
Brave Kitty added, “I didn’t care that I was going blind. If I was going to lose Felix, I didn’t care.
“It was very hard for my family to watch.”
By January 2003, Felix’s health had again deteriorated.
Kitty said, “An infection took over within three hours. After all those scares, I knew that was the end.
“He was struggling terribly and there was no way on God’s earth that I would let my son suffer.
“I knew he’d had enough so I told them to take him off the ventilator.
“And I let him die in my arms.”
We can only pray that Kitty gets her transplant soon.
Here’s a reminder of her playing Lizzie…