Sunday, 31 January 2010

Time to say goodbye...

These blogs just get harder and harder to write.... I just can't find the words... they simply aren't there. I have written this blog about 5 times and deleted but I am just going to go for it.

The Wednesday morning we woke up in the Travelodge room, knowing that it was going to be one of the hardest days of my life. Mum and Dad went out to explore Margate while I took time on my own to get ready. I never go out without make up (vain or what) so today would be no different, I opted for no mascara and false eyelashes, pretty smart idea in the end....

Mum and Dad returned, we got changed (I put on my Jessica jewelry) and away we went. We pulled up outside the church and spotted Aunty P from the Donor Family Network and so we parked the car and went for a cup of tea in a local cafe, we were soon joined by Emily and Matt, we chatted away about Jess as we looked through the fabulous tribute book Em had made for Jess' family. Me and Em exchanged some presents, I gave her a sparkly frame with a picture of me, her and Jess in it and she gave me a gorgeous scented candle.

We left the cafe and headed for the church, conversation stopped and we came to a standstill as we saw Jess' beautiful pink coffin being placed onto the white horse and carriage... the horses baby pink plooms gently swayed in the breeze. Me and Em stood for a few minutes, holding hands with tears in our eyes...

We were greeted at the church by people that we had only chatted to via the internet, many people came over and introduced themselves to me, I must have seemed rude... I didn't really engage in conversation... I was in a little world of my own. We stood outside for about 15 minutes, not sure why this was, I just think people wanted to stand together and share memories or in our case make small talk... with Matt making inappropriate comments that made me giggle at the most inappropriate times... lets face it though Jess would have been giggling too, I am sure she would have forgiven me!

We headed inside and took our seats. I was sat inbetween Emily and Matt and my parents sat behind me with Aunty P... There was silence in the church, apart from a few late comers who clunked the big heavy church door which resulted in everyone turning round... after what seemed like hours... but it was more like 15 minutes... Savage Garden's - Truly, Madly, Deeply began playing (Jess' favourite song) and the undertakers carried the pink coffin down the aisle... From the first few notes of the song... everyone was in tears, it brought back memories of Save Jess-tival and memories of Jess herself. Her family followed behind and as her coffin went passed I spotted Jess' name on the back of it in a star... and beautiful pink flowers draped over the top.

Jess had chosen all the songs and hymms, we sang Let Me Be a Channel of Your Peace and Be Thou My Vision. A few days after Jess died Emily sent me a beautiful poem in the hope that it would bring me comfort, it really struck a chord and made sense to me, she also sent it to Jackie (Jess' Mum) this was read out at the funeral... the words are so appropriate:

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.

What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those that loved you.
It's not a matter of circumstance, but of choice
In the face of adversity you chose to live a life that matters

That last line particularly rings true with Jess... she will never be forgotten for her determination and inspiration.

Emily and Matt held my hand through the last part of the service, I was conscious that I was snotting all over them but they didn't seem to mind! I really couldn't of got through it without them.

The tears kept on flowing (I knew the no mascara was a good idea) Jess left the church to Kathrine Jenkins "Time to say goodbye" I get a lump in my throat every time I think of it (I hope the link works, I haven't listened to it myself, I can't, not yet)... and I will never be able to listen to this song in the same way now. It really was beautiful but heartbreaking and there wasn't a dry eye in the church.

We left the church just in time to see Jess being carried away by the horse drawn carriage... as they trotted off down the road we looked at each other and said right lets go to the cemetery, we then realised that none of us knew where it was, and none of us had a postcode for it... we jumped in our cars quick and thankfully caught up with the cortege. Jess' coffin was in sight the whole way there, it was a kind of comfort to know that we were all sharing her journey to her final resting place... she would have been giggling at the fact that the whole cortege went through on red lights (not without some horns papping and dirty looks from other drivers) I felt like saying this is Jess.... do you not know who she is...!!!

We reached the cemetery and gosh I was regretting wearing my patent black heels (Jess wouldn't have wanted anything less though) so I kept up the pace and walked... (it felt like miles) Em held my hand the whole way... we made it to Jess' final resting place and as we did the horse let out one almighty fart... another moment I am sure Jess would have found particularly funny! We walked over to the graveside and watched Jess' coffin as it was lowered into the ground... "Earth to Earth, Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust" was said... I have only ever seen this on TV programmes.... the tears flowed again. Jess' family threw pink flowers on to her coffin and started to disband, Jackie caught Emily's eye and broke down... she then looked at me gave me a kiss and the hugest hug... and we shed a tear together.

Matt had given me and Em a sunflower each and I brought two pictures... one for me and one for Em so we said our goodbyes and threw them on top of the coffin... as we walked away... mine and Em's heels got stuck in the mud and we could hardly move... Em blamed Jess for this, saying thats exactly what she would have wanted to happen! I couldn't help but smile. We looked along the big line of beautiful flowers and there ours were, it really was prefect, a white heart shape with a Pink J in the middle.

I caught the attention of Jess Dad and he gave me a hug... we stood around for a while... not knowing what to do... not wanting to leave. Jackie came up to me and Em and invited us back to the wake... Mum and Dad felt a bit awkward but Jackie made a point of saying they were invited and welcome... shes such a strong lady, we all know where Jess got her strength and determination from now.

We headed back to Jess' house... the last time I was there was when we filmed for Battlefront... it was so surreal to be there without Jess... pictures of her where dotted around everywhere. There were people everywhere but it somehow felt empty as Jess herself wasn't there! We didn't stay long but it was so nice to be asked back... I had a long chat with Jackie... I hardly knew what to say, but she made it easy for me, she was so relaxed and welcoming... as I left she thanked me for what I had done for Jess... I hadn't done anything! I felt like saying thank you for giving me Jess, for letting me be her friend and for everything she has done for me... I am a different person, a better person, for knowing Jess and I will never forget her.

Forever in my heart... rest in peace darling x

Monday, 25 January 2010

Special Jewelry...

I was going to take some pictures of my Jewelry that the fabulous Danielle made me to remember Jess by... but she has taken some lovely pictures and posted them on her blog here so I will point you there instead. Jess really would love the pieces wouldn't she?

Other news... I went for an interview today at a local nursery, its actually the same nursery my niece Abi goes to! I think it went as well as it could do, the manager asked me questions, I asked her questions and I have to go back to do a practical interview on Friday from 9.30am-1.30pm! I won't find out if I have been successful or not until the following Friday!

I am setting off to Kent tomorrow for Jess' funeral, I have to go to Liverpool first to have some blood taken and then my parents will drive us all down... I can't believe that we are having to say our last goodbyes... still seems so unreal.

I know Jess will have the fabulous send off she deserves... and no doubt pink will make an appearance too!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The world doesn't stop...

It's hard to think that the world doesn't stop just because Jess is no longer with us. I was speaking to my friend Sarah Milne on the phone the other day and something rang true to me... because I didn't see Jess everyday as she lived far away it almost feels as if she is still there. I think it will hit me more when we have to say our final goodbyes on Wednesday.

It was left to me to sort the flowers out for Jess (I am surprised I was trusted haha!) this was good as it made me feel like I was being useful and doing something to help. The flowers are from myself, Emily, Sarah, Matt and Pops. I chose a white heart with a pink J in the middle and pink ribbon around the edge of the heart... it had to be pink, nothing less for Jess!

On one of my blog posts about Jess the lovely Danielle made a comment... we got chatting over twitter and email and I said I would like some custom made jewelry to wear to Jess' funeral, perhaps with Jess initials on. Danielle came up trumps and my lovely jewelery arrived in the post... it's pink of course! I will take pictures and post them up soon... theres a ring, many sets of earrings... 2 broaches and a necklace! Jess would have loved them!

Other things that have been happening... I have got myself a Job interview at a local nursery, its actually the same nursery that my neice goes to! I am hoping that goes well, I need to get myself into work or I'll get bored! I am also going to be going down to london to stay with the lovely Charlotte Hogg from Engage First and she is going to teach me all she knows about networking, social media and campaigning... and I am sure a few cocktails will be consumed as well!

I have also signed myself up for a 250ft high, 100ft long zipwire from the top of the Royal Liverpool Hospital, to raise money for their eye unit and Linda McCartney Centre this will take place on either the 20th or 21st of March and I will let you know how you can sponsor me nearer the time if you would like to!

So I think that is it for now... I probably won't update now until after Jess' funeral... please keep her and her family in your thoughts this week and please sign the Organ Donor Register in Jess' memory! Thank you x

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

My 101...

So here is my 101 list... If you can think you can help me out with any of them, then do let me know! I hope I achieve all of them or at least most of them and in the process make my donor and Jess proud! For each of the ones I don't manage to complete in 1001 days I will donate at least £2 to Live Life Then Give Life.

1. Go to Paris
2. Go to New York
3. Watch 26 movies, each starting with a different letter of the alphabet
4. Go camping
5. Complete a scrapbook
6. Read the whole of the Twilight Saga
7. Snorkel in the sea
8. Go to a music festival
9. Visit friends who I’ve promised I would visit
10. Climb Snowdon
11. Learn to play poker
12. Network
13. Go rock climbing
14. Go to a museum
15. Visit an Art Gallery
16. Watch a sunrise
17. Watch a sunset
18. Write a blog at least once every 2 weeks
19. Do a 5k
20. Swim a mile
21. Complete an adrenaline challenge
22. Learn to cook a Sunday roast by myself!
23. Lose weight
24. Sign people up to the Organ Donor Register
25. Go to the Ballet
26. Get a job
27. Lay in a field and watch clouds
28. Go kayaking
29. Help a stranger
30. Dye my hair pink
31. Give up chocolate for one month
32. Throw a dinner party
33. Go to see a comedian Live
34. Spend a whole day with my dad doing what he wants to do
35. Spend a whole day with my mum doing what she wants to do
36. Go ice skating with my brother
37. Go to a spa
38. Write a letter at least every other month
39. See a musical in the west end
40. Get a new Passport
41. Go on a family holiday abroad
42. Get my mum flowers for no reason
43. Go to the Zoo
44. Play Jail Break with Pops
45. Dust off my flute and play for one hour
46. Go on a date
47. Kiss a stranger
48. Get a tattoo
49. Get a massage
50. Read a Shakespeare play
51. Watch a horror movie
52. Spend 24 hours not using a computer
53. Spend 24 hours not using my phone
54. Go surfing
55. Bake Bread from scratch
56. Attend a murder mystery
57. See a band live that I’ve never seen before
58. Go to the gym at least 5 times a month
59. Kiss in the rain
60. Watch fireworks
61. See a shooting star
62. Take a risk
63. Tell my mum and dad I love them at every opportunity
64. Eat 3 things I’ve never tried before
65. Ride a motorbike/scooter
66. Take a photo everyday for one month
67. Move out of home
68. Build a snowman
69. Swim with Dolphins
70. Take a spontaneous trip
71. Make a new friend
72. Give up diet coke for a week
73. Teach my Niece something new
74. Get eyebrows waxed at least every other month
75. Sing Karaoke
76. Own a pair of Jimmy Choos
77. Raise money for charity
78. Go for a picnic
79. Build a bear for my niece
80. Leave a note in a library book for someone to find
81. Learn a poem by heart
82. Make fudge
83. Ride a horse
84. Eat in a Michelin starred restaurant
85. Stay in a Hilton hotel
86. Watch a film from the year of my birth
87. Ride a rollercoaster
88. Public speak
89. Go on a peddlo
90. Meet a famous person
91. Go to a fancy dress party
92. Carve my name on a tree
93. Go tubing
94. Visit Northern Ireland
95. Go to a proper cocktail bar
96. Watch a whole football match
97. Go on holiday with my friends
98. Cook a three course meal from scratch
99. Fall in love
100. Keep a diary of how and when I achieved the 101 goals
101. Go out for a meal on day 1001 to celebrate my achievements

You can keep up with my progress here. My finishing date will be Wednesday, October 17, 2012!!! I will be the ripe old age of 25! Scary!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

101 Tasks in 1001 days...

So the last couple of weeks has taught me that life is too short and we shouldn't take things for granted so when I heard about the Day Zero Project I thought I would give it a shot...

Day Zero is a unique challenge that inspires you to set and achieve your personal goals in life.

The Challenge:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple challenges such as New Year's resolutions or a 'Bucket List'. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

The website seems to be down at the minute but you will be able to keep up to date with my progress here. I will blog as much as I can about how I am doing and include photos as well!

I will let you know what my tasks are in my next blog...

Sunday, 17 January 2010



I want to text her. I want to speak to her.

I'm feeling like life is unfair at the minute, why did she have to be taken? Why did she get her second chance for it all to be taken away just days later? Why did I get my transplant before her? I could have survived years on dialysis, my situation wasn't life and death so why me? Luck of the draw... there is no rhyme or reason for these things.

I'm probably being selfish writing all of this down, but hey this is what blogs are for isn't it? If I am feeling like this, I can't begin to imagine how her family is feeling right now.

I received a christmas card off Jess before christmas, she was always thinking of others and insisted on sending me one, I told her not to bother and she replied Yes I want to, you are my friend. Jess was typically like that, always caring for others, asking how you are when she was the one struggling and needed the attention. This will be the last card I get off Jess... the day I received it I typed a twitter update saying please don't let this be the last christmas card Jess sends me... encouraging people to sign the Organ Donor Register so this wasn't the case...little did I actually know that it would be. I will now treasure this card that she took the time to write to me.

A couple of weeks ago after she received her transplant I bought Jess a cheap tacky present, It is now sitting on my desk, its hard to know that she will never get to see it. (It might be best that she doesn't it was pretty cheesy!)

As you can probably tell I'm finding it hard to write everything down that I want to, its hard to find the words.

I've bought my first ever with sympathy card... I should be buying Jess a Happy transplant card! I've had to dig out a black dress... I should be getting out a little black dress for us to go out together not to be going to her funeral!

Even though she is no longer with us, she is still doing her thing and raising awareness about Organ Donation... see some articles here.

This is how I will remember her, always smiling, never complaining.
Courageous, inspiring, generous, caring, funny.

Song of the day today is I Wish by R Kelly, (the chorus) with the lyrics...

"I know you're in a better place, And you know I can see your face. I know you're smiling down on me, Saying everything's okay."

Thursday, 14 January 2010

I'll be missing you...

I don't even know where to begin... I have never felt so down, I try to put on a brave face but inside I'm heartbroken. Heartbroken because I've lost a dear friend, heartbroken for her family, and heartbroken for all the things she will never get to do. As I write this, I am listening to I'll be missing you and tears are running down my face. These particular lyrics stand out above all others... "Till the day we meet again, In my heart is where I'll keep you friend. Memories give me the strength I need to proceed... Strength I need to believe."

Jessica died peacefully on Tuesday (12th Jan) with her family by her side. She was just 20 years old. I still can't believe that I am actually writing it, I don't think it has fully sank in yet. That I will never get to see her again, hear her voice or have a laugh together.

Jessica had received her long awaited double lung transplant a couple of weeks ago but the wait had been too long and her body wasn’t strong enough to cope. She had been awake following the operation, and was aware that she had her transplant; she got her dream that she had been waiting for 4 ½ years but she will not be able to live it due to major post transplant complications. I am pleased in a way that she was aware that she had had her transplant, she probably felt relieved and maybe even started thinking about thinks that she would be able to do in the future... I hope this gave her some comfort.

We became close during and after the filming of Battlefront and I will always treasure the memories I have of her, I am so proud to be able to call her my friend. We had plans together for when she got her call, things we would do...

She was going to come and visit me, I had already thought about where I would take her (shopping obviously) and what we would do. She said I could visit her anytime for walks and an ice-cream on the beach (I so wish we had lived closer I could have taken her up on this offer.) I told Jess that I would do the Hydroactive Addidas Challange this year with her when she got her new lungs, so I determined to do it this year (yes the whole 5k, maybe not running) in memory of her.

So many things left undone... I wanted to see her live her life, I wanted to see her without her oxygen on. I wanted to laugh till we cried (for the right reasons this time), I wanted to sample a whole cocktail menu with her... I wanted to dance till our feet felt like they were going to fall off... But this will never happen.

The world seems different right now, its lost a very special person. I walk past shoe shops, thinking which ones she would like... I hear songs on the radio that remind me of her, yesterday I heard Glorious by Natalie Imbruglia and today Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden...

Jess touched everyone’s lives that she came in contact with. Her death won’t be in vain; during her time waiting, she inspired thousands of people up and down the country through her campaigning, incredible attitude and passion for life.

Jess’ wait was just too long, and I intend to make her proud and continue my work with the campaign and the Charity Live Life Then Give Life, for which we were both advocates, to try and change the world of Organ Donation, so 3 people a day like Jess don’t die needlessly. If you do one thing today... please sign the Organ Donor Register in memory of Jess.

At 9pm Yesterday hundereds of people accross the country raised a glass to Jess, I set off a floating lantern... it looked beautiful floating up in the snowy sky with a message to her.

Of course my thoughts are with her family and everyone who knew her at this sad time.

“The stars that shine the brightest burn the fastest”.

Rest in peace beautiful lady... you can breathe easy now. Thinking of you every day & Love you always, Holly x

PS – I promise to be less of a kidney person now Jess x

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


I can't bring myself to write about the fun we had... and the plans we had... will leave that to another day when I am more composed. Until then...

Breathe Easy Jess, you really were one in a million and will be sorely missed by everyone who loved you x

Monday, 11 January 2010


Feeling very helpless as Jess is currently in quite a bad way, things aren’t looking good as she has had a major setback. Get updates on how Jess is doing and show her some love on her Facebook group Jessica Wales Rocks My Socks! She needs everyone’s thoughts and prayers right now.... more than ever.

Now Jess... get your arse in gear and show the docs, your family, friends and me... what you are made of! Keep fighting sweetie... Much love always x

Saturday, 2 January 2010

5 years ago...

I'm still feeling in reflective mood seen as its new year... I think I can be forgiven!

It's a whole 5 years since I was diagnosed... how time has flown! I was told on the 3rd January 2005 that I had kidney failure and on the 5th January 2005 I started dialysis... Time stood still for a little while so we could all come to terms with it... I took a break from college and gave up the job I loved (working at my local cinema), my parents gave up work to look after and support me.

So many things were different in my life before that day:
  • I went to college
  • I had a job
  • I didn't drive!
  • My brother wasn't married
  • Abigail didn't exist
  • I hadn't met my University friends!
  • I hadn't heard of Live Life Then Give Life
  • I hadn't heard of Battlefront
  • I hadn't had any contact/experience with the media
  • I had visited number 10 - but only a fake version at Granada Studios!!!
  • I only knew what dialysis was because I had watched Kirsty from Home and Away just start it
  • I only knew what Organ Donation was through signing my driving license
  • Ironically, before I was diagnosed I watched the channel 4 documentary on Emily... who knew that In 5 years time I would be able to call her a friend!
  • I was thinner!
  • I had never had my blood pressure taken
  • I had never spent a night in hospital
  • I had never had blood tests
  • I didn't have any scars
  • What was Twitter?
  • In fact I don't think I even had Facebook - how did I survive!?

In the world things were different....
  • We had a different pope
  • We had a different Prime Minister
  • We hadn't won the 2012 bid for the Olympics yet!
  • The London underground bombs hadn't happened
  • Micheal Jackson was still alive
  • There was no recession

In Januaray 2005 the number of people on the Organ Donor Register reached 12,000,000 today 16,754,593 are on the register as I type this... I hope to be typing (In another 5 years time) that the whole 96% of people who agree with Organ Donation have signed the register as well! (who knows where I will be... maybe a house and man... one thing is for certain I will still be campaigning and I will still have a love of shopping, specifically shoes and handbags!)

On 5th January 2009 I wrote this blog about the day I got my call for transplant! Most of the significant events in my life happened during 2009 as I wrote about them in my last blog...
Other highlights or significant events of the past 5 years... Going on the Transplant waiting list (Aug 2005) meeting my university friends (2006), Andy and Fiona getting married (2007), Starting this blog (well my life on dialysis blog, Jan 2008, my first ever post here), Abigail being born (Sept 2008) and me receiving my transplant (Oct 2008).

Me being diagnosed with Kidney Failure... 5 years ago... has totally changed me as a person (for the better I hope) I became a stronger person, I grew up (a little bit) but my confidence did take a knock. I found reward in getting out there and trying to make a difference, I would never have contemplated doing this before, I was probably too wrapped up in myself (shopping no doubt). Me receiving my transplant and being given a second chance has changed me again... my confidence has been regained, I have met more amazing people, I have done things I thought I would never achieve... such as graduating!

Most importantly I realise what I was taking for granted 5 years ago...

I can walk down the street, go shopping without feeling tired. I can be spontaneous, grab my car keys and go out whenever/wherever I want. I can enjoy time with family and friends, I can eat what I want and drink what I want! I can go to the gym... (although I may complain about it)... I can experience a hangover...and a million other things!

This wouldn't have been possible with out the support of my fabulous family and obviously my donor and their special family that said yes to Organ Donation at their time of grief, I am and will be eternally thankful.

Anyway I hope this blog makes sense... What I am trying to say is I have come full circle, I am enjoying life like I am 17 again (no pun intended regarding the film!) The world has changed and I have changed as a person. Being diagnosed with Kidney failure was pretty crap... spending time on dialysis was even crapper (is this a word?) but I wouldn't change it for the world... it makes me who I am today! :)

Friday, 1 January 2010

New years goals and resolutions...

Happy New Year!

Ok so last year my goals were to...
  • To make the most of my “Gift of Life” and enjoy being free from dialysis
  • To go on holiday (I haven’t been abroad since I started dialysis)
  • To go back to Uni, complete my dissertation and hopefully graduate with my friends
  • To visit Emily T in London and go shopping!
I did all of these to some extent, I definitely enjoyed being free from dialysis and made the most of it. I went on holiday to Devon, first holiday with Andy, Fiona and Abigail. I went back to uni, completed my dissertation and graduated with my friends! I also went to London for the advocate weekend and saw Emily... although we didn't have any time for shopping! :(

Highlights of 2009.... It has been a fantastic year... 2010 has got a lot to live up to! (In no particular order)
  • Donor Day
  • Getting thousands of people to sign the register
  • GMTV, Sky News and Metro Newspaper
  • The airing of my Battlefront programme in May/October
  • The quote of support from Gordon Brown
  • Donor Family Network meet up
  • Dissertation!
  • Graduation
  • Vinspired National Award
  • Abseil for Live Life Then Give Life
  • Parties and many nights out
  • Save Jess-tival
  • Making new friends, Catching up with old friends
  • I stayed away from home, in London and Huddersfield
  • Visiting Downing Street - meeting Sarah and Gordon Brown
  • Jess receiving her transplant

This years resolution is to continue making the most of my Gift of Life, making my Donor family proud... also I want to get fit, go to the gym more and lose weight!

Other plans for the year are...
  • To continue to raise awareness about Organ Donation
  • Continue my work with Live Life Then Give Life
  • To go on holiday abroad
  • To get a job
  • To go away with friends for a weekend
  • To go to Ireland for a wedding in April
  • To Organise and pull off Donor Day 2010
  • To see Peter Kay, Jimmy Carr and Derren Brown
  • Go to London for pleasure not work.... to see Em
  • I am coming to see you too Pops... so a trip to Newcastle!

Thanks for your love and support in 2009, especially to my wonderful parents... I've certainly had an amazing time!

Heres to a healthy and Happy 2010 with an increase in the number of transplants taking place and less people losing their fight because of the lack of Organ Donors. Hoping all my friends get the second chance I have been given...

Please make it your New Years Resolution to sign the Organ Donor Register!