Sunday, 21 February 2010

A new Chapter...

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Well I started my new job, for Kids Unlimited...

I think I'm really going to like it, I'm getting to know the routine, the kids and staff. I'm working Tuesdays and Thursdays, both 10 hour days which is tiring, but I'll get used to it. I am in the pre-school room so will be helping to care for/educate 3 and 4 year olds. I need to learn the paperwork routine but have already planned one activity, recorded it and will need to follow it up again with my key children in a few weeks. I am a key person for 6 children, my responsibilities include liaising with their parents and keeping their files up to date amongst other things.

I have some knowledge of the Early Years Foundation Stage but need to swot up a bit more, I need to be imaginative with my planning so will need to get my thinking cap on and create some fun activities for the kids to get stuck into. Its strange that I have all the knowledge from my assignments and lectures at uni but not much hands on experience but I'm sure it won't take me long to get the hang of things.

I've had a busy few days, as well as the job, but I will update about that in a separate blog. Before my transplant I used to find it hard to blog about things, as my life was not "normal" it revolved around hospitals, diets, needles, medication, clinics and now there's not enough time in my day to sit down and write about all the things I have done, places I have been and people I have met!

I still can't believe I'm not a student and actually have a job. Of course none of this would have been possible with out the generosity of my donor and their family, and I hope that I make them proud in my new venture.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Old Friends... New Friends...

I had another fantastic night away in Huddersfield last weekend... Its a really lovely village where we go, just outside Huddersfield. Everyone knows everyone, its quite strange to travel an hour down the road and feel like I know so many people and feel so at home, its really great!

My friends boyfriend put us up as usual... he's a fab host, and I managed to bag the bed again, so I didn't have to sleep on the sofa. The only thing about Huddersfield is that everyone seems so tall! Check this picture out:

I did the driving, I probably had a few too many drinks so was feeling it the next day, we didn't leave to around 1 o clock. I hope we go back soon, as I am in love with the nightclub called Camel and will need another fix of it soon enough!

On Saturday I had the privilege of meeting up with Tony Salmon and Sam Marston (check out Sam's blog here) and their lovely daughters Bethany and Eloise. We met in Blackpool at an open day at Donna's Dream House, they do fabulous work for families of seriously ill children, offering them free holidays at the house including passes for the attractions in Blackpool. Bethany received her life saving liver transplant just over a year ago, and my is she looking fabulous! Before this, the family didn't know what the outcome would be for Bethany so took the opportunity to take her to Donna's Dream House. The house became more famous when it recently appeared on Secret Millionaire, and the chap Gary that gave them money is still involved to this day and was there himself on Saturday.

We spent the day giggling and chatting, we looked round the house including the new roundabout and the fabulous state of the art cinema! Then all of a sudden this man came looking for Bethany and Eloise and asked if they wanted a horse ride, I said to Sam excitedly is it a real horse, she gave me the most rediculous look and said of course not! We followed the chap as he led us to the back of the house and there it was in all its glory a PINK horse and carriage (yes a real horse, and when I say pink, I mean the carriage not the horse). To say I was excited was an understatement, luckily there was room for me to jump on too (I would have insisted on them coming back for me to have a go if there wasn't haha!)

Bethany and Eloise decided we were all princess' I was named sleeping beauty at first but then they quickly changed me to Belle. We had a fantastic time, and we finished off the day by me treating Tony, Sam and the girls to sausage and chips on the sea front!

Me and my favourite princess's

I still can't quite believe how far I've come since my transplant... jumping in a car and setting off to Blackpool on my own (aided by my trusty satnav on my Blackberry) just would NEVER have happened before. Turning up to the house with around 50 people stood in the garden and me waltzing in on my own... would NEVER have happened! Last night I went to Manchester for a night out with about 3 hours notice... this wouldn't have happened before. I am thankful for everyday, I feel more independent, more confident and a lot more happier than before.... as someone I know very well says...

This is my life and I choose to love it!

Sunday, 14 February 2010


I attended the NHSBT Roadshow in Liverpool on the 11th February...

My passion for organ donation and transplantation is still there (if you can't tell by now) in fact I think its stronger than ever. Since Jess died I feel I need to do as much as I can to promote the plight of others on the transplant waiting list, I know that this is what Jess would have wanted in her own words, which she said on many occasion about the Save Jess campaign "If this doesn't save me then at least it will help others." That was her, she was always caring about others, I want to be just like her, I do care about others but always feel I can do more. I want to keep campaigning, doing as much as I can for Organ Donation so that others don't have to lose their battle whilst waiting, so families don't have to go through what Jess' family are going through, and for selfish reasons, so I don't have to lose anymore friends along the way.

The roadshow was a perfect opportunity to do put all of the above into action! I spoke to people about why they should sign the Organ Donor Register, I told them my story (I always think this helps people to understand and see in person the difference a transplant can make)... I encouraged people to sign up there and then using one of the 3 laptops available. There were lots of volunteers on hand to answer any questions, including my transplant co-ordinator, Kate (who called me in for transplant) Here is a picture of me and her. She apologised for making me so upset when she called bless her!

The team were fab and made me feel so welcome, the press photographer came down and I and the team had to give the Tin Woman a heart... check out Save the Tin man if you haven't already and I also did a Radio interview from the van with Radio City. The purpose of the "Prove it" roadshow is for people to prove the believe in organ donation by signing up, 96% of people would willing receive an organ if they were in need of one but only 27% of the British population have actually put this into action by signing the register. A total of 380 people signed up there and then that day... so far the roadshow has signed up 4,400 people! I am glad I played a small part in making it happen... I will be attending the Manchester Roadshow on Friday which I am very much looking forward to.

Thats it for now... Love, x

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


So I have been quite busy on the old campaigning front recently, with the talks etc. I also have done two radio interviews over the past few days one was pre-recorded for City Talk and the other was a phone in show (that I knew about in advance) on Radio City 96.7 so rang into that.

The presenter is Pete Price... I have spoken to him before about Organ Donation, in fact the last time we spoke I mentioned Jess as it was in the lead up to Save Jess-tival. Pete is dead set against Organ Donation but is willing to talk about it, he never really says why he is against it, I think its because of all the myths and misconceptions floating around. He comes across really ignorant, I don't know if its his manner or whether he is just asking the questions that the public want to hear the answers to!

Anyway I think the interview went well, I found myself talking a lot rather than being asked questions... I think this is probably the best way to deal with Pete.

I am doing another radio programme at 7am tomorrow morning for Radio Merseyside 95.8... you can listen live here (if you are up that early!) The purpose of this interview is to talk about me, my story but also to talk about the NHSBT Roadshow that is coming to Liverpool tomorrow. I will be attending from 10am-12, talking to the media and the general public about Organ Donation and why people should sign up! I am really looking forward to it, I am hoping to attend the Manchester Roadshow which is on the 19th February... with Racheal Wakefield :) any excuse for a catch up and a gossip hey!

I start work on Tuesday 16th (which is my dads birthday sadly) it will be a 10 hour day and then I think I have a staff meeting too, so no birthday tea out which is a shame!
I will be working 20hours a week... 10 hours on a Tuesday and 10 on a Thursday... it will be tiring at first I guess but I am really looking forward to it! At least I have monday and friday off, so will have long weekends and will get to see Abigail still for one day a week! This will also be good because my clinic appointments are usually on a Monday (I told the manager about this in the interview, so she took this into consideration!)

Thats it for now. Love x

Monday, 8 February 2010

Donor Day 2010...

Ok so you will all be pressing me for dates and more info... but the truth is I haven't got round to organising and putting any solid plans together.

So here is where you come in... Open forum... how do I make Donor Day bigger and better than last year?

Your thoughts?

Do you want to be involved?

I would love your ideas... I am meeting up with Oli Barrett my mentor at the beginning of March and so we will be having a brainstorming session and throwing around some ideas.

So get in touch... and get involved! Email me if you don't want to comment:

Thanks in advance

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Final Farewells...

I wrote a statement about Jess for the Battlefront team, they have put it on my page which you can view here.

There is also some video footage from ITV Meridian of Jess' funeral which can be seen here.

Its still hard to believe Jess is not here, Facebook is empty without her, my phone is empty without her and my life is more empty without her.

I will leave you with some pictures of the flowers we got Jess.

And all of the beautiful flowers...

x R.I.P x

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Talking, Talking, Talking...

I have done lots of talking in the past couple of days... Both professional talking... and gossiping!

On Tuesday I did a talk at Arrowe Park hospital (another one of my 101 goals - public speaking), it was in front of Donor coordinators, transplant coordinators and Intensive Care staff. I was a bit nervous but they were all lovely and made me feel at ease, there was only around 20 of them. I talked about my story, Live Life then Give life and life since my transplant. A fellow speaker was David Nix from the Donor Family Network it was great to catch up as I haven't seen him since The DFN meet up in September. I enjoyed giving the presentation (trying to make it humurous yet emtional) and the audience must have enjoyed it as I have been invited back to do 3 more throughout the year! (which I will attend if work permits, seems funny writing that!)

It was really interesting to hear more of the Donor Families side of the story as well as the Intensive Care Staff's view of how to break bad news. Some of these topics are discussed in this interesting Times article if you want to take a look. I can't bring myself to comment on it as I may let my mouth run away with itself... some of the comments about the article are so ingnorant! Such as transplants shouldn't take place becuase "the planet is already over populated" and "Organ donation is a money making scheme" I really would love to hear how these people would feel if them or one of their loved ones ever needed an organ transplant.

I have also been asked to attend the NHSBT roadshow in Liverpool, this will involve me talking to the media and encouraging people to sign the Organ Donor Register. In preparation for this I have been asked to do a pre-recorded interview for Radio City Talk 105.9 tomorrow at 3.45pm which will be aired on Sunday between 7-8pm. Hopefully it will go well and persuade people to think more about tranpslantation and Organ Donation.

Today I had a lovely afternoon meeting up with the wonderful Rachael Wakefield... she is currently waiting for a double lung transplant after fighting hard to get herself active on the transplant list.

You can read more about her story here. She is such an inspirational young lady, we have the same sense of humor and so had a right giggle! Although I may or may not have suggested lighting the candle in the middle of the table... but soon changed my mind once Rachy reminded me she was on her Niv (Non Invasive Ventilator) that was blowing out Oxygen at the time... oops! You wouldn't believe I got a double B in Science at GCSE!

We are going to make meeting up a regular thing, which is fab... I gave Rachy a photo album as a little present to open today (as well as a birthday present, which if you are reading this, you must save till your birthday missy!) so I am hoping we can fill this with lots of silly photos of our antics... and the start of a very long friendship!

Its definitely good to talk...

Monday, 1 February 2010

New Job!

I am now employed...

What a scary thought! I can't remember if I blogged about my interviews or not... I definitely Facebooked about them and received lots of good luck wishes which really spurred me on so thank you for them!

I went for a formal interview on the 25th January which went ok, lots of questions were asked and I wasn't sure that I answered them in as much depth as they might have liked, thankfully they asked me back for a practical interview which I did on Friday. I had lots of fun, the kids were painting, building, singing and drawing. I read them (all 27) a couple of stories... which I think was quite brave as I have never worked in a nursery so haven't had to keep that many childrens attention before.

I got the phone call today that I got the job! I was so excited... I really can't wait. I have to take in my degree certificate on Thursday and discuss what hours I will be working. I will start off part-time and hopefully end up doing fulltime sometime this year!

I will be working at the Kids Unlimited Nursery in Warrington... its 1.5miles from my house so it will only take me 10minutes getting there, I will start off in the pre-school room ages 3/4 and see how I get on but I may be moved.

So there you go... one of my 101 in 1001 complete... I also acheived one on Saturday when I went to see the fabulous Jimmy Carr... he was very funny but extremely rude! He got lots of funny heckles and one man proposed to his wife in the audience!

In other news I am off to do a talk tomorrow at Arrowe Park hospital about me and my transplant! I am a bit nervous but I am sure I will be fine once I get there and get started. Luckily my Transplant co-ordinator and the Donor Co-ordinator will be there and I also will get to catch up with David Nix from the Donor Family Network again which will be nice.

Will leave you with a couple of pictures of me from today, we went out for an all you can eat chinese to celebrate me getting the job!

I certainly wouldn't have been fit enough to work whilst I was on dialysis and so Of course none of this would be possible if it weren't for my Donor and their amazing family who said yes to Organ Donation. Be a Hero today: Sign the Organ Donor Register!