THE mother of a 10-year-old boy who received a heart valve transplant has spoken of her gratitude to the family who ‘gave her, her little boy back.’

Jack Tennick, from East Kilbride, was diagnosed with aortic valve stenosis - a life-threatening narrowing of the valve that handles all the blood being pumped around the body - shortly after he was born.

The damaged valve was repaired when Jack was eight months old, and then replaced when he was seven, using a procedure called the Ross Technique at Glasgow's Royal Hospital for Children.

Jack’s pulmonary valve, which is similarly shaped, replaced his damaged aortic valve and then her received a donor pulmonary valve.

Glasgow Times:

The transplant has allowed him to leave a normal, active life, free of medication – something mum Claire Lee, 38, remains grateful for.

Read more: Scotland's new transplant system to go live next year 

Speaking as Organ Donation Week gets underway, she said: “It must be such a terrible terrible time to go through as a family.

“For them to think of how they can help other families at a time like that, it’s hard to get your head round. You’d like to think that if you were in that position, you’d do the exact same thing.

“I’m just so grateful that they had that difficult conversation, as it’s given Jack so much.

“After the transplant we could see him coming back to us.”

Doctors had discussed putting a mechanical value in, which would have involved Jack making changes to life.

Claire, who is separated from Jack's dad Martin, said: “Jack is an active child, always jumping about and playing football.

“He can go to school, go out to play with his friends.

“He’s football daft and goes to all the games with his grandpa and uncle.

“Without the donor valve, Jack would have needed an artificial valve which would have caused so much worry and put a lot of restrictions on his life.

“There’s no guarantees how long the new valve will last, but he’s doing really well.”

There are currently more than 550 people in Scotland currently waiting for a transplant.

Read more: Life-saving organ donor bill becomes law at last 

From Autumn 2020, the law around organ and tissue donation is changing in Scotland, meaning that if people have not confirmed whether they want to be an organ donor, it may be assumed they’re willing to donate when they die - a change that the Evening Times campaigned for and Claire supports.

Glasgow Times:

She said: “I think the move to an opt out system is a great thing. I think it’s a pretty strong statement to say I don’t want to be an organ donor, but understand everyone has their own reasons, and some people don’t even like thinking about it as they feel like it’s tempting fate.

“I hope all the awareness around the new law will make people think about their decision and have that conversation because it’s so important. We’ll be eternally grateful.”

Claire said she was nervous about telling Jack, who has a sister Sophie, 7, where his heart valve came from but when they explained it to him, he said it was “really cool.”

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick says it’s vital people share their decision with family.

He said: “The law on donation is changing in Scotland to save and improve many more lives, adding to the package of measures already in place which have led to significant increases in donation and transplantation rates in Scotland over the last decade.

“This Organ Donation Week, we’re asking people to think about their organ and tissue donation decision, record this on the NHS Organ Donor Register and importantly share it.

“ Having that conversation with family is vital, so they can ensure the decision is honoured should something happen.”

To find out more about donaton go to