Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Scottish girl gets new lungs after ten false alarms

Victoria Glen looks a picture of health, just weeks after have life-saving transplant surgery

“The woman who gave me the lungs is my guardian angel sitting on my shoulder. I only know her name and how she died.

By Caroline Wilson, Evening Times

The 28-year-old was given a double lung transplant in May after ten false alarms and seven unsuccessful attempts to operate.

And she says she can’t wait to dance properly for the first time in years at her celebratory “New Lungs” party.

The Strathclyde University graduate is urging the public to join the organ donor register as charities warn the gap between organ supply and demand is continuing to grow.

Three people die every day in the UK waiting for a transplant.

She said: “The most precious gift that can be given is to give someone their life back before it’s too late.

“It means the world to me and so many people out there.”

Victoria, who lives in Merchant City, Glasgow, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of six months.

By the time she reached 26, the condition had ravaged her lungs and she was told a double lung transplant was her only hope.

Her lungs were functioning at 20%, she was dependent on oxygen twenty four hours a day and was frequently in hospital fighting life threatening chest infections.

After almost two years on the waiting list, she underwent major surgery to transplant two healthy lungs at Newcastle’s Freeman hospital.

Previous attempts to operate had been unsuccesful because the the organs had either been damaged, or she wasn’t well enough for the operation.

Victoria, said: “I remember when I woke up I didn’t feel any different and I thought, have they done it?

“I started to feel better after about a week and now I feel really really good. I’m not coughing anymore.

“I thought it was never going to happen.

“The woman who gave me the lungs is my guardian angel sitting on my shoulder. I only know her name and how she died.

“The best thing about the operation, is just being able to just walk around. Before the operation I was spending most of my time in hospital.

“What I’m most looking forward to is dancing at my New Lungs party. I used to do a lot of tap and ballet when I was a lot younger but haven’t been able to for a long time. “

Victoria is also planning to return to work as a part-time drama teacher in a matter of weeks and hopes to eventually teach full-time.

Gerard Falsey is hoping it will be fourth time lucky for him, after three unsuccesful attempts this year by surgeons to give him a lung transplant.

Gerard, also 28, from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, has a rare and progressive lung condition that has left him completely reliant on his family.

He was born five weeks prematurely with one under-developed lung.

Shortly afterwards both his lungs collapsed and he wasn’t expected to survive.

However he rallied round and recovered but spent most of his childhood in and out of hospital after surviving several bouts of pneumonia.

His condition deteriorated four years ago at the age of 24 and he was forced to give up his job as a debt counsellor, and his cherished Celtic FC season ticket. He now relies on a powerful cocktain of steroids and antibiotics to stay alive.

He said: “I’ve been down to Newcastle three times but the lungs weren’t healthy enough. It’s very hard emotionally and physically because you are psyched up for it.

“I’ve got to keep hopeful about it though.

“It would mean everything to me to get a transplant. It’s a chance to have a normal life.

“To go on the register is an unbelievable thing that you can do for more than one person.

“It’s a real chance to be a hero.”

Although the majority of the population support the concept of organ donation, only 28 per cent of the population are on the register.

Emily Thackray, of transplant charity Live Life Then Give Life said: “It’s something a lot of us don’t really think about, even though any one of us could need a transplant at some point.”

To register as an organ donor go to NHS Organ Donor Register or call 0300 123 23 23. To find out more about organ donation you can visit

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & 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: - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here
In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov
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 (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help 75 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. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Life Begins with You

1 comment:

Dave Scott said...

Very glad to hear that you got the life saving help you needed.

You are absolutely drop dead gorgeous Victoria Glen.

Best wishes.