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Lucky charm gives Jamie heart for job.

Byline: GEOFFREY LAKEMAN

A TEENAGER has landed his first job thanks to a good luck symbol - his metal heart.

Jamie Darney was just 16 when he became the youngest person in the world to be fitted with a titanium heart.

Surgeons removed it 10 months later when Jamie's own heart recovered and now he carries the metal heart with him as his lucky charm.

Jamie, now 18, said yesterday: "I've just landed a job with a double-glazing firm and I'm sure it's because I took my lucky mascot along to the interview. Last summer it helped me pass my GCSE exams as well.

"I've found all sorts of other uses for my heart - it makes a great paperweight and bookend."

Jamie was fitted with the revolutionary metal heart two years ago when he was hit by a mystery virus.

Doctors discovered Jamie, of Port Talbot, south Wales, had developed the life-threatening condition acute cardiomyopathy.

His heart was beating four times faster than normal - and parents Margaret, 41, and Paul, 42, were told only a metal heart could save him.

The 3lb electronic pump kept Jamie's weakened heart ticking while it recovered.

Margaret said: "He bounced back to health almost straight away - the difference was amazing. The heart was removed after 10 months which is a record, the fastest time before was two years.

"Our lives were turned upside down but it was worth it to have Jamie back to normal."

Now sports-loving Jamie hopes to take up rugby again after being banned from contact sports.

He said: "I was only allowed to play golf but I can't wait to play rugby.

"And my heart will be in my kit bag as a lucky mascot."

CAPTION(S):

ALL PUMPED UP: Jamie with his 3lb titanium heart which he had fitted at 16 after developing a rare heart defect
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2002
Words:307
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