A mum from Peterborough who has missed out on what could be her only chance of a life-saving transplant has made a heartfelt plea for people to register as organ donors.
Lindy Jakes been given just two years to live unless she receives a double lung transplant, allowing her precious time with her seven children and 12 grandchildren.
The 41-year-old of Council Street, Walton, Peterborough, thought her prayers were answered when she was offered a transplant on October 31, after being on the waiting list for nine weeks.
But she was in Peterborough District Hospital and was too ill and taking too much medication for the transplant to go ahead.
She said: "I had to turn it down. All of the staff in Ward 1Y were so comforting and understanding, they helped me get through it.
"I was, and still am, devastated. That was my chance of freedom and a new life where I could get rid of the oxygen tank and start swimming again with my children and grandchildren or even do simple things like go shopping."
With only 27 per cent of the population registered as organ donors and three of the 10,000 people on the UK transplant waiting list dying each day, Mrs Jakes knows her chances of getting a donor who is a perfect match are slim.
She is appealing for more people to join the register and pledge to donate their organs to someone after their death.
She said: "A donor is a gift of life, giving someone else another chance. My whole family are registered, and I would urge everyone who is healthy to sign up – one day it might be you who needs a new organ."
It was only two years ago that Mrs Jakes went to the doctors with a chest infection and discovered she had emphysema – a long-term, progressive disease of the lung. She also has end stage lung disease, which means her lungs cannot keep her blood supplied with oxygen.
Mrs Jakes' quality of life is deteriorating daily – she is wheelchair-bound, on oxygen 24 hours a day and cannot leave the house for fear of contracting swine flu or pneumonia, which could kill
her. She is cared for by her husband Wayne (41) and youngest daughter Deanna (13).
Mr Jakes said: "It is hard looking after my wife full time, we go through ups and downs and the waiting is awful.
"Although you can't force people to be a donor, I would like to see everyone registered and those who don't want to be one, should have to opt out. If I could give Lindy one of my lungs then I would."
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register click here or call 0300 123 23 23.
“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here
In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves
Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.