I have had my transplant 4months today, I still can’t believe I am able to do all these things now and be so spontaneous! It’s a strange feeling having sore feet before getting out of breath and feeling tired myself! As you can see from the picture my mum and I soaked our feet in the bath when we got back to soothe them a bit!
Tuesday morning we walked from the Travelodge to the underground and then headed into London (Goodge Street) to meet up with the crew from Battlefront and Oli Barrett (my BF mentor) He took us to One Alfred Place where we had a really interesting and productive meeting with Amy McClaren from Colman Getty.
Amy is a PR expert with some great tips on campaigning, press releases and my event in general! I am also excited to say that she has agreed to be an E-mentor for me so I can contact her via email to ask her for help which is great and I will certainly be taking her up on her offer! Lots of things to do with the day were discussed, nothing was set in stone yet but as soon as I know anything of course you will be the first to know!
After the meeting Rosie and Tom from Battlefront drove us to pick up the lovely Emily T from Surrey (stopping for a sausage butty on the way, very glamorous! Haha).
We then travelled on down to Kent to interview Jessica Wales who had kindly offered to be filmed for my campaign, she is currently waiting for a double lung transplant and has been for the past 3 ½ years! In that time she has had 5 false alarms (where the call comes, but the transplant doesn’t go ahead) she is a real tough cookie and has a great sense of humour! Her and her family were so friendly and welcoming, so I would like to say thank you for that.
Jessica has Cystic Fibrosis and was diagnosed at about 4 months old and began the daily medications and treatments to try and keep her well, but she was in and out of hospital regularly with chest infections. When you are listed for a double lung transplant you are usually given a prognosis, Jess was given 2 years without a transplant she has already outlived her prognosis which shows her determination and how desperate she is to survive.
Meeting Jess and hearing about her illness and the restrictions it places on her daily, really hit home with me, I don’t mind admitting I did get a bit emotional watching her struggle to breath (Jess even apologised for making me cry). Although we have “waiting on the list” in common I can never relate it to my situation as I was being kept alive by dialysis, Jess doesn’t have that luxury, for her it really is a matter of life and death.
It was a strange feeling, I almost felt guilty that I had had my transplant and questioned why Jess still had not had hers, I know Jess wouldn’t want me to feel like that but I couldn’t help it. I could have survived on dialysis for many more years yet, while Jess, without a transplant will die. I don’t know how she copes but she does with such strength and humour. The afternoon, although serious, was full of gossip and giggles, in fact we got told off for not staying on topic, personally I blame Emily for this!
To all those people who haven’t signed the Organ Donor Register because they don’t want to think about death and dying, you should look at Jess , Everyday she has to face the fact that without a transplant she will die so surely you could think about your own mortality for 2 minutes while you sign the register.
Jessica says “A transplant to me would mean the world. Not only would I get back my life but my family would get back the girl they used to know.”
Jess is 19, she has so much she wants to do with her life, she’s funny and bubbly, has a zest for life and is a true inspiration. She (along with over 8000 other people on the transplant waiting list) is the reason I am doing this campaign, and the reason more people should sign up to be Organ Donors.