Helen Hoskin, Transplant and Cardiology Nurse,  Karen Pearson, Transplant and Cardiology Nurse,  Elaine Heap, Greg Heap, Jane Jackson, Emma D’arcy, Transplant and Cardiology Nurse (photo was taken in line with COVID regulations) 

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When John Jackson asked his wife Jane back in 1991 what she wanted for her birthday she answered ‘for you to receive a heart’.

On 3rd May 1991, John Jackson was the 18th patient within the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to receive a heart transplant.

John Jackson was given the life expectancy of seven years when he received his new heart, but with true northern grit, he managed 28 years of life with his wife Jane.

John and Jane met in 1972 and bonded instantly over their shared love for soul music and Motown. After 17 years together John was unfortunately diagnosed with a hereditary disease of the heart muscle, Cardiomyopathy.

John was given care and medication but after a year on medication his health took a turn for the worst and he was informed towards the end of 1990 that he would indeed need a heart transplant to survive.

On the run-up to Jane’s forthcoming birthday, John repeatedly asked the question what Jane would like for her birthday as he would need assistance getting it due to his health, Jane gave the same answer every time “for you to receive a heart.”

On May 2nd, three months after being put on the donation register John received a call from the Northern General hospital to say a heart had become available.

John drove himself to the hospital that evening and spent the journey singing along to his favourite Motown songs. John and Jane were informed at 12:30 AM on Friday 3rd May 1991 that the heart was good and John would be prepared for surgery.

The 3rd of May was Janes birthday.

John was so grateful to have been given the gift of life and to trade a few months for a few years, to give back and show his appreciation he set up the Sheffield ‘Heart Transplant Games Fund’ to support recipients and their families who had gone through the same procedure that John himself went through. 

Despite setbacks including cancer, with the sheer dedication and care given to him by Karen Pearson, Helen Hoskin and Emma D’arcy, transplant and cardiopulmonary specialist sisters at the Northern General Hospital, John lived for a further 28 years, sadly passing away in August 2019.

On the 23rd October 2021, Jane and Greg a close friends of John and Jane held a night to remember in memory of John Jackson, it was a night filled with dancing, fun, and nostalgia. It had a raffle, auction, silent auction all to raise money in the memory of John. Altogether the night raised £5,157. Jane kindly donated the money to Sheffield Hospitals Charity to help fund a clinical fridge in the Chesterman Clinic at the Northern General for staff and patients within the cardiology unit to make the most of.

Jane gave a special thanks to the cardiology team:

“I want to thank the heart transplant team who in John’s own words kept him ticking over for so many years, especially to the two wonderful ladies, Helen who was John’s transplant coordinator and nurse since 1999, and Emma his nurse since 2007.”

Jane and Greg have set the date for another Motown and Soul night in memory of John for 1st October 2022 which will be presented and hosted by Greg at the Norton House Country Club Sheffield.

If you want to donate or help fundraise to support the amazing work of the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals you can find out more here - https://www.sheffieldhospitalscharity.org.uk/donate/donate