October 2009 Mrs Collis 2009
A heart felt thanks from Margaret

Heart patient Margaret Collis hoped for the best but feared the worst when she underwent pioneering surgery to mend the hole-in-her-heart. She was one of the first patients ever to survive the nine hour operation: her ribcage was partially removed and she required 271 stitches.

"But here I am 50 years later! I lived to tell the tale and I owe my life to the wonderful doctors and nurses," she said.

Margaret, who now lives in Coventry, marked the 50th anniversary of the life-saving operation by making a special donation to The Heart Hospital, part of University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. She sent a cheque for £50, £1 for each year.

Mrs Collis 1959"It was a pretty gruesome operation. I was only 18 years old and frightened because the operation had never been done before."

The operation which took place at the former Middlesex Hospital, part of the UCLH Trust, gave Margaret a new lease of life. Prior to that she had suffered breathlessness and skipped heart beats.

"I was back at work within 6 months and went on to have two sons. I go swimming every day and love hill walking and I still feel well. I wanted to mark the 50th anniversary in some way. I felt part of history!"

When Margaret discovered the Middlesex Hospital no longer existed, she contacted UCLH Charity who promised to ensure the money would be put to good use. Cardiac patients are now treated at the Trust’s Heart Hospital which is a nationally-recognised specialist centre.

With the cheque was a note. It read: "I am now 68 years old, so thank you. Please find enclosed a donation..."