Jayden’s story

Find out how Jayden was saved by an incredible medical breakthrough only made possible through years of research and trials in Australia.

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Jayden owes his life to an incredible medical breakthrough only made possible through years of research and trials in Australia.

Jayden was just 46 years old when the common flu virus attacked his heart causing it to become so inflamed, he was left in end-stage heart failure. It was history repeating itself. Twenty years earlier Jayden’s mum died from the very same condition.

Now his son Henry was facing the very real possibility of losing his dad too.

But this father and child had a different outcome thanks to research conducted at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

The ‘heart-in-a box’ that was developed alongside a unique preservation solution at the Institute has revolutionised heart transplantation.

This world-first invention has dramatically extended the amount of time a donor transplant heart can spend in transit, from four to 14 hours. Hundreds of lives have already been saved as a result and there are now a third more hearts available for people like Jayden. Two and a half years on, an incredibly grateful Jayden says, “Things have just been going beautifully.”

He’s now focusing on being the best dad in the world to Henry, being an advocate for organ donation and a passionate supporter of medical research.

It’s a purpose he knows would make his mum proud. “Mum was too sick for a heart transplant, and I was 20 when we lost her,” he says. “She agreed to every bit of testing and gave her heart to research.”

It’s the power of research that has inspired Jayden and Henry to undergo genetic testing.

“This will give us the opportunity to monitor Henry’s heart health which is so important,” says Jayden. “The thing that excites me is what has been achieved through research in such a short period. What was not available to my mum is now available to Henry and I.”

Today, Jayden “pinches himself” when he wakes up each day. Things could have been so different.

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All of these breakthroughs start with research. Without people taking part in trials and research, I probably wouldn’t be here today.

It’s hoped that a new discovery from the venom of funnel web spiders could expand the number of available donor hearts for transplantation by a further third.

Researchers at the Institute and the University of Queensland have isolated a molecule in the venom that it is hoped will not only help heart transplant patients, it may also prevent damage caused by a heart attack.

Clinical trials of the new drug are expected to start in the next two to three years.

The Sydney father is now urging Australians to sign up to the Join Us register to help accelerate research into heart disease.

Related research studies

The Healthy Optimal Australian Microbiome Study

By gaining an understanding of what is a normal and healthy microbiome, clinicians, researchers, and healthcare professionals will be better informed about what they might be able to do to improve health by modulating the microbiome.