Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Transformed from near death to someone with health, happiness and a future

I've just added a link to this transplant blog on my site because it speaks volumes about not only how a life can be transformed by an organ transplant, but what motivates someone who does not want to die and takes action to do something about it while on the waiting list. Emily Thackray (23) and fellow CF patient Emma Harris (32) started the The Live Life Then Give Life Campaign to encourge residents of the U.K. to sign the National Health Service Organ Donor Register. Emily is now quite famous having received extensive media coverage and interviews on TV. Read Emily's blog at Pink and Smiley.

Emily is small blonde and smiley. She writes "I love life, but was facing a death sentence due to end stage cystic fibrosis. Thanks to the generosity of a stranger I received a life-saving double lung transplant on January 4, 2007. Despite several weeks in Intensive Care following the complex operation, I was finally discharged on March 16th with a whole new life in front of me thanks to the greatest gift of all – the gift of life."

Emily says on her blog "I am very much a people person and a rather girly girl, loving all things pink! YAY! I enjoy talking, laughing, utilising my love of talking in the form of public speaking and awareness raising, and inventing new words and then being unable to separate them from real ones in my head."

Thanks to her generous donor and their family, Emily has been transformed from someone who was within weeks of dying, to someone with health, happiness and a future. Incredibly, just 4 weeks since her discharge from hospital, Emily started planning to take part in the Women’s Hydroactive 5km Challenge in Hyde Park, London in September!

The Live Life Then Give Life Campaign is the idea and work of Emily and Emma who both suffer from Cystic Fibrosis, the UK 's most common life-threatening genetic disease which affects various organs of the body, in particular the lungs and the digestive system. The average life-expectancy of a CF sufferer in the UK is just 31 years, with the majority of deaths caused by the progressive lung damage which characterises CF.

Last year Emily was told that her lungs had become so badly damaged that without a double lung transplant she was unlikely to live beyond a year.

Emily says:

“I find myself grinning inanely sporadically throughout the day. Every day there are a thousand little moments where I stop and think “I can’t believe I am doing this, I can’t believe I got my transplant” and have to pinch myself to believe it is all real. I take great joy in sitting and taking a really deep breath…just because I can. Words cannot express my gratitude to my donor and their family; I was determined to live but all my hopes and dreams depended on their decision. They have saved my life.“

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

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