Parents of Britain’s youngest organ donor welcome new baby girl after tragedy | UK | News


Noah Houlston, 10, pictured with his new baby sister Bodi,

Noah Houlston, 10, pictured with his new baby sister Bodi, 12 weeks, at their home in Cardiff. Noahs twin brother Teddy died at birth but became the UKs youngest ever organ donor when his kidneys saved a womans life.Pic: Rowan Griffiths (Image: Rowan Griffiths / Daily Mirror)

The family of Teddy Houston, Britain’s youngest ever organ donor, has welcomed a new sister for his surviving twin brother Noah, a decade after the tragic event. Teddy’s untimely death left a significant void in the family, particularly affecting his twin Noah.

However, the birth of baby Bodhi has brought some light into their lives, much to the delight of Noah. Teddy made history by becoming Britain’s youngest organ donor at just 100 minutes old, having been born with the fatal brain condition anencephaly.

His story inspired the Mirror’s Change The Law For Life campaign, advocating for an opt-out system for donors. Parents Mike and Jess recently invited the Mirror to meet little Bodhi.

Despite the raw grief they still feel, especially around Teddy’s anniversary in April, the arrival of their daughter has brought them some comfort. They also mentioned that Bodhi’s presence has been a great solace to Noah, who has felt the loss of his twin despite never having known him, a common occurrence in surviving twins.

He is playing Bodhi a recording of Teddy’s heartbeat, placed in the tummies of two bears. After cooing in her ear, „Bo-Bo,“ he said: „I don’t play it often because I don’t want it to run out.“

Speaking to the the Mirror, Jess added: „He is besotted. Every single night he would ask, ‚When can we have another baby? ‚ He has always been missing something.“

Bodhi was born on February 11 and Jess, 37, said she can see Teddy in her.

She continued: „I have felt joy with her in a way I wasn’t able to feel after Teddy. She is just amazing, I’m enjoying every second. She has Teddy’s mouth. When she is out for the count, her mouth wide open, she looks just like him. It’s nice, we only have so many minutes-worth of memories of him.“

Mike and Jess Houlston, pictured with their baby daughter Bodi, 12 weeks, son Noah, 10, and Jess daughter Billie at their home i

Mike and Jess Houlston, pictured with their baby daughter Bodi, 12 weeks, son Noah, 10, and Jess daughter Billie at their home in Cardiff. Mike and Jess son Teddy died at birth, 10 years ago, but became the UKs youngest ever organ donor when his kidneys saved a womans life. Pic: Rowan Griffiths (Image: Rowan Griffiths / Daily Mirror)

Mike, 39, told how Bodhi’s arrival has brought a sense of wholeness again. He said: „I think you can describe it like a puzzle with a piece that was kind of always missing. Teddy will always be here, but with Bodhi it feels almost complete now. We say Noah has missing twin syndrome, he always needs company.“

After Jess and Mike told us Teddy’s story in April 2015, more than 100,000 people signed the organ donation register.

And the organ donation opt-out system, named Max and Keira Law after heart recipient Max Johnson and donor Keira Ball, finally came into force in England in 2020. The couple, of Cardiff, discovered at the twins‘ 12-week scan Teddy had anencephaly and would only survive hours after birth.

But they decided against termination and instead made the ground-breaking.

The twins were born on April 22, 2014, with the NHS Blood and Transplant team on standby. Mike and Jess spent precious moments cuddling their boys and capturing memories with photos.

Rugby enthusiast Noah still has one of these images as his phone background today. Tragically, Teddy passed away shortly after birth.

In the following minutes, specialist teams extracted his heart valves and 3.8cm kidneys, which were then donated to an adult woman.

Estate agent Jess remarked: „It felt so natural, there wasn’t even a second thought.“

Technical manager Mike contributed: „We have no regrets. People might not understand this, but we feel lucky it happened the way it did. Teddy opened the doors for so many more organ donations.“

Mike clarified a common misunderstanding that family consent is still required for organ donation under the new law, stating: „It is important we keep having conversations.“

In the years after Teddy’s demise, Jess couldn’t contemplate another child due to the risks involved. However, it was Noah’s persistence that encouraged them to try again three years ago.

Following three early miscarriages and the precarious condition of Bodhi upon birth – both her and Jess being treated for an infection – it seemed disaster was poised to strike twice.

Recounting what followed, Jess said: „Within 12 hours she was nearly unresponsive, so they rushed her back into the children’s hospital. She was straight back on the drip. They treated her for the herpes virus, -antibiotics in case it was an infection, and they tested for meningitis. She was whisked off for a lumbar puncture. She had multiple cannulas in her hands and feet as her veins kept collapsing. Just the beeping of the machines took me back to Teddy.“

Although no clear diagnosis was given, fortunately Bodhi began to recuperate. Finally home, Jess and her partner found joy in Bodhi’s company, something which was impossible with Noah amidst their grief.

Reflecting on this, Jess shared: „She’s my little bestie. I’m trying to take in every little smile, noise and milestone.“

Honouring Teddy’s 10th anniversary, the couple chose to focus on Noah’s birthday by taking Bodhi along with them on a rugby tour.

Jess, who has a 12 year old daughter Billie from a previous relationship, shared: „Every milestone Noah hits I imagine what it’d be like with Teddy. Every occasion is never just his moment. I was aware of the anniversary all day though. I remembered how I felt the two of them fight for space in my womb, how they’d both react to music. I miss Teddy every second.“

Despite the pain, joy comes through Noah’s affection for Bodhi. Mike expressed: „He’s very proud. He likes showing his friends. They’ll be playing Fortnite and Bodhi’s head will pop up on screen. Every night she goes into his room for a cuddle.“

Noah continues to include his twin in every aspect of life, even signing cards on behalf of both.

He plans to share memories with Bodhi as she grows, saying: „I will tell Bodhi about Teddy when she’s older.“

The family’s unique bond was honoured in 2015 with a Special-Recognition Mirror Pride of Britain award.



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