A Pinner woman who had to undergo a heart transplant as a child says she honours the hero who saved her life.

Emma Hilton, who was rushed to Northwick Park Hospital as a 12-year-old when she suffered an abnormally high heart rate, was told she required an urgent heart transplant.

Now aged 31, she recalls that the organ donor had saved her life and allowed her to be where she is today.

She said: I walked into A&E with my mother and five hours later received the last rites after I went into cardiac arrest after being diagnosed with an enlarged heart.

“They managed to restart it but I was so ill that a police car escorted my ambulance to Great Ormond Street Hospital where I was placed on life support for nine days in the hope my heart would recover.”

Her heart did not recover, but she was lucky enough to receive a replacement the same day after being placed on the top of the transplant list.

Her recovery was slow, but she eventually went on to complete here education and compete in the British and World Transplant Games.

The recovered patient added: “I’m here because a family I have never met made the decision to give me a future by agreeing to organ donation at the most horrendous time in their lives.”

“I am pleased the opt-out law is in place. It is a great way of promoting organ donation and it gives people the opportunity to have the conversation, because unless it effects you directly, it may not be discussed.

“It is really important that families are aware of each other’s wishes, because if something happens, it removes that uncertainty. There is also a lack of organs available for transplant and it allows more patients to be given another chance at life.”

Looking back at the situation, she said she will forever indebted to Northwick Park and Great Ormond Street and believes “if people could see how amazing the gift of life is it may encourage them to make that decision”.

“As the years go by I still tear up thinking of how my donor and their family have allowed me to live. No amount of thanks will ever show my gratitude. I strive to live every day in honour of them, as without them I wouldn’t be here so here’s to my donor, my hero,” she said.