A heartbreaking clip shows the moment a mum was reunited with her two sons who asked her “will you die like dad?” after spending six months in hospital.
Nicola Sharpe, 48, had to spend 190 days in hospital after suffering heart failure and had to undergo a 12-hour heart transplant operation at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge to save her life.
The mum embraced her sons Finley, nine, and Rory, 13, who have already lost their father, in an emotional moment caught on camera.
Nicola described the hug as “one of the most special moments” of her life.
She was greeted by her two sons at home where her family had gathered and put up ‘welcome home’ balloons.
Nicola, of Southend, Essex, said: “That first hug with my boys is one of the most special moments in my life.
“It’s the moment that has been keeping me going - it felt like it lasted forever.”
‘I thought this day would never come’
The boy’s father and Nicola’s husband Peter died from a sudden heart condition seven years ago.
Nicola, who is a primary school teacher, said that her recovery was fuelled by her desire to return home as she didn’t want her sons to have to lose both of their parents.
Although she admitted that she was faced with some “tough questions” over her illness by her sons.
She said: “I’ve always been really honest with the kids about what happened to Peter and what I’m now going through.
“They have asked me some pretty tough questions, like ‘are you going to die like dad’ and ‘how will we live without you’.”
Nicola explained that she first developed symptoms in July 2020 when she became breathless, but said she ignored it as a “one-off”.
However, by August last year her condition had got worse and she was diagnosed with heart failure, before surviving a cardiac arrest in hospital.
Due to the severity of her condition, her transplant operation was fast-tracked and she underwent surgery in early 2022.
She has now been discharged from hospital but has been having regular check-up appointments with doctors to monitor her condition.
She added: “There have been many moments when I thought this day would never come.
“I cannot thank the team at Royal Papworth enough for their expert, outstanding care every day, and my anonymous donor without whom this moment would not be possible.”
Nicola’s surgeon, Steven Tsui, said: “Nicola’s course of illness has had more ups and downs than most roller coaster rides.
“Against all the odds, she has made it and what a wonderful moment to see her reunited with her sons.”
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