Being born with Cystic Fibrosis in 1982 meant my life expectancy was somewhere between 19-21. With great support (medical and otherwise) hard work ,a bit of luck and a huge portion of optimism I reached the age of 30. But eventually my lungs were done - only functioning to 11% due to constant infections I was on 24hr oxygen support, constantly on a drip for fluids and antibiotics and fed through a tube in my tummy. I was house bound trying to stay alive while my friends partied, got married, started their families, travelled or followed their careers. I knew I was running out of time but for some reason I was lucky enough to receive a double lung transplant at Harefield Hospital 2 weeks before my 31st birthday. A third of people in need of a transplant die while on the waiting list so it was a huge relief to receive those lungs. However the hard work just started and recovery was a rocky road. Battling side effects of the anti-rejection drugs, fighting infections, getting back into work, dealing with it all mentally was tough - but so worth it! Now, almost 4 years post transplant I have my best lung function results, I am competing internationally in sports events and I am Chair and Team Manager of the Harefield Transplant Club. We support people waiting for a heart and lung transplant and their families, friends and carers on their transplant journey and beyond - we help buildup a social network & help with isolation issues, help people getting back into work or exchange information and thoughts with others. We facilitate communication between medical teams and patients, educate about transplant and promote organ donation through events and talks. We purchase essential equipment for local hospitals like organ care systems so more donated organs can be used for transplant, 3D printers and help fund genetic research programmes.
On Saturday May 6th Rob and I will - along with friend and fellow transplant recipient Douglas and his wife Mary - be running the world's biggest obstacle course. Together we are braving 20 miles and 200 gruelling obstacles in honour of our donors and their families. We are raising money for the Harefield Transplant Club so we can support more people who - like us 4 years ago - are hoping for another lease of life. Help us make a difference!
Thank you x