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Eastbourne woman born with half a heart who defied odds to live for 38 years dies
She was not expected to live beyond three weeks after being born with half a heart.
But Nicola Thomas-Langlands has died after living for 38 years thanks to a life-saving double transplant.
The first woman in the UK who had undergone a heart and lung transplant to enable her to have children, Mrs Thomas-Langlands was also only the 12th child in the UK to have a transplant.
She said she owed her life to the death of a little boy who enabled her to have a heart and lung transplant in 1989, aged 11.
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The husband to Neil Thomas and mother to Megan, 15, died in hospital on December 2 after suffering a chest infection.
Yesterday her mother Lynn Langlands, 63, of Bexhill, said: “We had 37 years longer with her than we thought we were going to.
“It is remarkable she lived so long and she overcame so much.
“Since she died so many people have contacted us. Unbeknownst to us she had been contacting people all over the world.
“People found her support a great encouragement - it turned out her help had gone global.
“She honoured and safeguarded the organs she was given - her life became about helping and giving.”
Her mother, married to Nicola's father Jim, 66, added: “Although she has gone it was wonderful to have her for so long. She was inspirational.”
Mrs Thomas-Langlands, from Pevensey Bay, Eastbourne, founded, Look Beyond the Heart, to help other people in similar situations.
In July this year she told The Argus: “I have been trying to set up a charity for a while to offer transplant aftercare to patients and their family.
“We want to be able to offer that care if they need it or want it.
“It would be nice to be able to pay for them to have days out and people have to pay so much money for parking and it would be nice to be able to reimburse them that money.
“The medical side of care is brilliant but when they come home there is no support group out there.”
She was close friends with Britain's Got Talent finalist Steve Hewlett, from Eastbourne, and the pair planned to work together to register the charity officially.
On Friday Mr Hewlett said her death was a “total shock”.
He said: “Nicola was wonderful. She was a brave woman and did a lot of charity.
“People will not forget her and what she did.”
The funeral will be take place at St Mary the Virgin church at Pevensey and Westham on Friday, December 20 at noon.
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