20 November 2023

At the age of 16, Tineke underwent a life-saving heart-lung transplant.

Born with two holes in her heart, this developed into a rare condition called Eisenmenger Syndrome, which is when blood flows abnormally in the heart and lungs, damaging both organs.

Listed for transplant, the operation went ahead at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Former Royal Papworth transplant surgeon and current chairman Professor John Wallwork was one of the surgeons who performed the operation.

A few months after her transplant, Tineke was transferred to Royal Papworth Hospital for her ongoing adult care, where she is still looked after by our transplant team for what are now annual check-ups.

At the age of 26, she also had a kidney transplant with the organ donated by her mum as a living donor.

She has since been able to go to university, complete her PhD at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, have a family and enjoy hobbies such as sailing her boat. In 2018 she completed a 7,000 mile journey from New Zealand to the Falkland Islands!


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Tineke and partner Clive (centre) with representatives from our transplant team during a recent visit


“The gift of organ donation is even more important for patients on the transplant list today,” she said.

“It’s given me my life, it’s given me time with all my friends and family, time to achieve things. It’s so far reaching.”

“I moved to Royal Papworth about two months after my transplant and have been extremely well cared for since.

“Transplant is not a straight road; the expertise at Royal Papworth has seen me through the triumphs and depths when things have been more difficult. They've been extremely successful.

“The doctors, nurses and all other services are such a great team and I often talk to the transplant team about reaching what I call ‘transplant 50’.”

Tink’s story emphasises the importance of organ donation and the impact it can have. Thank you to everyone involved in her care and a special thank you to her organ donors and their families.

For more information about organ donation please visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.