Friday, March 16, 2012

Mom returns home after double lung transplant

Miss Kerr, from Adlington, said she could never thank her anonymous donor or their family enough for the gift of life. She added: “They have just given me this chance now to have a life and to spend every minute of every day enjoying it."

The Bolton News

A mother who underwent a double lung transplant is back home — in time to celebrate Mother’s Day with her children.

Natalie Kerr was afraid she would not live to see her children grow up after she was given a death sentence four years ago when she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension.

But she is now living without the aid of administered oxygen and is looking forward to the future with Brandon, aged nine, and Isabelle aged four.

The 30-year-old said: “When I think I am breathing with somebody else’s lungs, I am just so thankful.

“They have given me these lungs and they are actually working.

“I feel I have a duty to look after them. I wish I could show that person how much I am using my lungs and making the most of every moment.”

Following her diagnosis, the brave former Royal Bolton Hospital nurse never gave up hope and, with the help of The Bolton News and generous readers, raised £40,000 ($63,000) for stem cell treatment in America in 2009 to prolong her life.

In recent weeks her condition deteriorated, leaving her weak and afraid she would not live to see the end of the year.Miss Kerr, who had become increasingly reliant on administered oxygen, was finding everyday activities a struggle and was regularly passing out.

Just as she was beginning to give up hope, a donor was found for a double-lung transplant, and last month she underwent the operation that would change her life.

Miss Kerr was alone at home when she received the call — at 9pm on Thursday, February 16.

She immediately rang her parents, who were celebrating their wedding anniversary in London, but managed to get on the last train home to be with their daughter as she underwent a series of tests, before being told at 5am she was a match.

While being wheeled into theatre for the eight-hour operation, she admits she was “very nervous”
but sent her son a text message saying how much she loved him.

After the operation at Wythenshawe Hospital, Miss Kerr was transferred to intensive care and her family was warned she may be in hospital for more than six weeks.

But she amazed doctors and was allowed home early — just three weeks after the operation — and in time to spend Mother’s Day with Isabelle and Brandon, something she believes was meant to be.

It is still early days, and Miss Kerr has to wait for three months to find out if the operation was completely successful, but she says she can already feel a difference.

On Wednesday, Miss Kerr picked up Brandon from school for the first time since her operation — and was greeted by a round of applause from the other parents.

She said: “It is strange being able to breathe easily. I can actually feel the lungs working inside me.”

Miss Kerr, from Adlington, said she could never thank her anonymous donor or their family enough for the gift of life.

She added: “They have just given me this chance now to have a life and to spend every minute of every day enjoying it."

“I don’t want to go to sleep in case I miss anything.”

She is hoping to take her children to Disneyland and she and her family are determined to use her experience to encourage more people to join the organ donor register.

Her father, Eric Kerr, aged 54, said said: “I really would encourage people to sign up to donate their organs because there are so many people waiting.”

For more information about the donor register call 0300 1232323.

“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa,
United States,
United Kingdom, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save or enhance the lives of up to fifty people with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help 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.

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