Mother who refused to donate first baby's organs says she suffered 'payback' when third baby died waiting for heart transplant
Shelley Wealleans turned down the opportunity to donate the organs of her first baby, Lewis, when he died from a heart defectDecision came back to haunt her eight years later when her third baby needed a life-saving heart transplant but died before one was foundNow mother is campaigning for more people to become organ donors
15:34 GMT, 15 October 2012
A mother who has suffered the agony of losing two babies to heart defects is urging people to sign up to the organ donor register to prevent further tragedies.
Shelley Wealleans, 27, is racked with guilt for not agreeing to donate the organs of her first child, Lewis, who died when he was just three-months-old.
The decision came back to haunt her eight years later when her third child, Mackenzie, needed a life-saving heart transplant – but died before one became available.
Tragic: Shelley Wealleans has lost two babies to heart defects and is calling on more people to become organ donors
'I wondered if it was payback for not donating Lewis’s organs. My guilt will stay with me for ever,' she told The Sun.
Shelley, from Carlisle, was just 19 when she had Lewis with her ex-husband, Rob. He was born with a rare heart defect and died at the age of three months. Shelley was asked at the time if she wanted to donate her baby's organs but she refused 'without thinking'.
'I felt guilty knowing a mum in the past was
sitting feeling what I was'
'I didn’t know anything about
organ donation, so it was a shock. I was so angry and grief-stricken,' she said of her feelings at the time.
She went on to have son, Corey, who is now seven, with Rob but they split up three years later.
She then met her second husband Lee, 31, with whom she had son Mackenzie, but tragedy struck the mother again when his heart failed and he needed a transplant in order to survive.
Praying for a heart donor for MacKenzie to be found made the mother rue the day she had refused to donate her first child's organs.
Guilt-ridden: Shelley, pictured with son Corey, daughter Madison and husband Lee. She said she will never get over not donating son Lewis' organs as they could have saved another baby's life
She said: 'When Mackenzie fell ill I felt I was
as two-faced as they come. I felt guilty knowing a mum in the past was
sitting feeling what I was.
'I’d said no when I could’ve possibly saved a child’s life by simply saying yes. And then I needed someone else, another mother, to say yes for me.'
'I hoped that just one mum out there would have more strength and courage than I had'
Doctors told her his condition was
different to Lewis' so it was due to terrible 'bad luck' and not
genetics that Shelley had two children with heart problems.
placed at the top of the UK donor list because of his critical
condition but a donor was not found and in May last year he died just weeks before his
She said: 'We waited 60 agonising days but a
donor heart couldn’t be found. It then hit me, the heartache another
poor woman had been forced to go through when I refused to donate
'I hoped that just one mum out there would have more strength and courage than I had. I needed someone else, another mother, to say yes for me. But no one did.'
Youngest on the list: Shelley added daughter Madison to the donor register when she was just 52 hours old
Shelley is now supporting the 'Promise Life' campaign to encourage people to sign up to the donor register so more lives may be saved in the future.
She has already signed up daughter Madison, who was born in July this year.
She said: 'When she was just 52 hours old I added her name to the organ donation list, making her the youngest person in the UK to be on it.
'My guilt will stay with me for ever but I hope that in telling my story other people will consider joining the donor register.'