A mother has spoken movingly of her gratitude to a donor family who have given her daughter the gift of life.

Little Gabrysia Filarowski is about to reach an important three-month milestone following her life-saving heart transplant.

And as she goes from strength to strength her parents are stressing that the family who made it possible are always in their thoughts.

Angela and Andrew Filarowski are overwhelmed by the changes in their 18-month-old daughter who, before the transplant, had been given just months to live.

Angela said: “As ever, we are in constant gratitude to our amazingly brave donor family, who have already enabled us to have three months with Gabrysia we never contemplated having.

“We constantly remember them in our thoughts and hope their brave act has helped them in some way in their grieving process.”

It isthree months since Gabrysia had her transplant – an important milestone that the Filarowskis has been desperate to reach. And they have had to overcome a lot of hurdles to get this far.

Gabrysia, who was born with a rare heart defect – double inlet right ventricle – faced organ rejection following the transplant when the levels of antibodies in her blood became dangerously high.

She had to be readmitted to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital and become the youngest person in the country to receive the new drug bortezomib as doctors fought to stop her new heart from being rejected. The pioneering treatment paid off, and as Gabrysia’s antibody levels continued to fall her mother stressed they were “obviously over the moon as there were no other planned treatment options for Gabrysia’s complex condition.”

Now the three month milestone means the little girl no longer needs to be kept in total isolation – although the family are still keeping her away from large crowds and from anyone suffering from colds and infections.

Angela said: “The other big change is that Gabrysia’s weekly visits to the Freeman in Newcastle can now go to two weekly, which is a great indication of how fantastic she is doing.

“We are, as ever, completely overwhelmed to have reached this stage, it is such a massive milestone for Gabrysia given all her antibody issues and is evidence to the fact that the new treatment she has trialled is working well to keep her antibodies low.”

Angela described her daughter as a “completely transformed child” and said there was a massive difference in what she was now able to do compared to the way she was before the transplant.

“She has so much more energy and is literally on the go the whole time,” she said.

“There is still a long road ahead, with important hurdles to cross at certain times, but the transformation which has taken place in Gabrysia is phenomonal. She has this week climbed the staircase unaided, and has taken her first steps.

“Its very emotion for Andrew and I who constantly have to remind ourselves that we never expected her to reach this stage.”

She added: “And of course, we continue to campaign for organ donation, too many people die waiting for an organ, it only takes a second to save a life – join the organ donor register and give thousands of people the opportunity to have a chance at life.”