Why we chose to fundraise for The Liver Foundation UK (supported by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham), by Graham Green, New Business Development at CBF:
We take everyday life for granted, but it takes just one moment to see how fragile life can be. This moment for me was just over four years ago.
My mum seemed healthy in every way, apart from the aches and pains of age, until she went for a spa day, and a friend noticed that the whites of her eyes had a yellow discolouration – no-one had noticed before because she usually wore those glasses that darken and lighten depending on the light. Following a visit to the doctor, it was confirmed that she had Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, which ultimately leads to liver failure.
At this point, given the late stage the illness was picked up, my mum was immediately placed on the transplant list - but this is a lottery, and grows longer each day. Given my experiences, my heart goes out to those families who continue to wait.
As time went by, my mum was rushed in and out of hospital, and on two occasions we were told to prepare for the worst. Throughout this process The Liver Foundation UK and the nurses and doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham became an important source of support not only for my mum but all the family.
As time moved forward we found ourselves moving down the transplant list, with so many patients waiting to receive a liver the odds reduced every day. By this stage mum was restricted to a wheelchair, and her mental faculties were limited. That's when we heard the news that a liver became available, but after tests my mum was informed that she would not have the strength to make it through. This is the continued emotional battle the surgeons, nurses and transplant coordinators face on a daily basis. A new liver can make you better but, you’re too ill to receive it!
In October 2013, the option of a live donation was mentioned. As soon as I heard that news I put myself forward as a donor, and after much discussion with family, and help and support from The Liver Foundation UK, the operation took place on the 2nd April 2014.
As with everything else it was not routine, but the appointed transplant coordinator and the helpers from The Liver Foundation UK were with me every step of the way.
My mum ended up spending three months in hospital, and at one point I was even informed she had between three and 33 hours to live. I still relive that moment as the surgeons walked toward my hospital bed at 11.07pm and pulled the curtain round me, saying she needed another liver after the first operation had failed.
Four days later we got lucky, and although today my mum is still in a wheelchair, each day she becomes stronger. One thing that I know is that without the staff at Queen Elizabeth, and the support and research performed by The Liver Foundation UK my mum would not be here today.
We continue to talk with them, and although we can never repay them for what they did for us, I am hoping you will sponsor myself and the staff at CBF for the up coming 3 peaks challenge just over a year since the operation.