TEACHER’S MOVING MESSAGE TO COLLEAGUES AS SON RECOVERS FROM TRANSPLANT SHIELDED FROM CORONAVIRUS

An inspirational Sutton Coldfield teacher whose young son underwent a life-saving liver transplant as the coronavirus hit has sent a heartfelt message to her colleagues saying: “I think of you all and I think of the students and I miss each of you.”

Elijah with dad Martin and sisters Matilda and Beatrice.
Elijah with dad Martin and sisters Matilda and Beatrice.

Lisa Lockley’s son, Elijah, is one of 1.5 million at risk patients being ‘shielded’ from infection by the NHS after his operation on February 27th at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, meaning the dedicated Assistant Headteacher is unable to join her colleagues at John Willmott School as they support the children of key workers during the coronavirus lockdown.

Nine​-year-old Elijah, who was diagnosed with a rare liver disease as a baby, was first listed for an urgent transplant a year ago on March 26th, 2019. Lisa and husband Martin​ were warned that they faced a long wait for any liver to become available because of their son’s age and the size of liver required.

Both Lisa and Martin were assessed to see if they could donate, with Lisa being identified as the best potential match. Over the coming months three dates were set for surgery only to be cancelled – with the last one, at Kings Hospital in London on February 25, being called off because of ​a high risk of both developing life threatening blood clots. Lisa said her ‘world collapsed’ at the news.

Lisa Lockley with her son, Elijah, who is being shielded from the coronavirus as he recovers from a liver transplant.
Lisa Lockley with her son, Elijah, who is being shielded from the coronavirus as he recovers from a liver transplant.

This week, in a heartfelt message to her John Willmott colleagues Lisa wrote: “Then on Wednesday February 26th, at 09.20am a liver became available for Elijah. And in the early hours of February 27th, my son was given the most amazing gift from a stranger I’ll never meet; and that kindness has changed my life. 

“Whilst it wasn’t ideal to be discharged into a global pandemic, the fact remains at 11 days post-transplant I had my son with me, and we were discharged. And he is doing well.”

Elijah is now recovering supported by mum, dad and sisters Matilda and Beatrice at home in Sutton Coldfield. He is being supported and monitored by experts at Birmingham’s Children Hospital and Lisa told colleagues that, after a surgical review via Skype, Elijah’s liver function is now ‘amazing’.

“For now, that’s enough, and I’ll take each day as a small gift without looking too far ahead,” she wrote to her colleagues at John Willmott, which is part of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership.

“Whilst it wasn’t ideal to be discharged into a global pandemic, the fact remains at 11 days post-transplant I had my son with me, and we were discharged. And he is doing well,”
– Lisa LockleY

A sign on the family’s home in Sutton, created to protect Elijah by his sisters Matilda and Beatrice.
A sign on the family’s home in Sutton, created to protect Elijah by his sisters Matilda and Beatrice.

“Elijah is now one of the 1.5 million being ‘shielded’ so I won’t see you for a while longer, but I think of you all and I think of the students and I miss each of you,” she wrote.

“And this Thursday, March 26th marks one year since all of this began… and it has been horrendous. But at the end of it all there was hope and the most wonderful act of kindness.” 

John Willmott Headteacher Tracey Peters said: “Lisa often uses the phrase Be Brave Be Bold – she has been both brave and bold for the last year and has genuinely been an inspiration to all our staff and students.

“She has continued to work for the benefit of John Willmott School students at the same time as being on this journey with her family. We are blessed to have her as part of our school community.”

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