I always think the best way to reach people and encourage them to think about organ donation is sharing personal stories. These often have the most impact and maybe prompt people to be proactive and actually sign the register. This is why I am sharing this and why the author of this piece of writing wants me to share this too! I only know Rhia Murray through Facebook and my campaign, but she is one very brave and inspirational 17 year old and I think her story portrays this. This was only written yesterday...
"I have Cystic Fibrosis. Many people don't know what this is; but the people who do, will understand what a cruel illness it really is. It is a life-threatening lung condition, which not only affects the lungs, but also the digestive system which results in lots of different medication giving us a very short life expectancy of 31 years.
I however, would not of even made it to my 17th birthday, if it wasn't for the kind genorosity of my donor, who I thank from the bottom of my heart. All my life, up until then I had been suffering. Struggling. Desperate to want to be able to know and feel like what it is like to breathe like a 'normal' person. Just to be able to take a big deep breath in to fill the whole of my lungs!
2007 was when things really started to go downhill - very fast. By 2008; I was on 24hr oxygen and needing a wheelchair to get around. It was an effort to even brush my teeth as I would be literally gasping for air.
Getting up the stairs would be a mission - I would take one step up and have to wait a few minutes before taking another. All in all - it would take around 15 minutes to reach the top, and once there I would then have to sit at the top to catch my breath. It was hell. Pure hell, then the coughing up sputum started...
Me being a right girly girl, I love to wear nice clothes, do my hair and make-up, but I couldn't physically do that, I didn't have the energy and to be honest, I didn't even care what I looked like at that point.
I had planned my own funeral. My life was coming to an end, and I knew it. I made sure I told the people who mean the most to me, that I loved them at every possible chance I could, even though it left me breathless, incase that would be the very last time I did. I dreaded going to sleep at every afternoon nap I had and every night, incase I never woke up. I wasn't ready to die. I was scared.
I was only 16 years old and I had my whole life ahead of me, I had dreams and hopes for the future.
July 2008, I was put on the active list for a double-lung transplant. I truely believed I wouldn't get it, but I must have someone up there looking over me, because on 28 August 2008 - I got the call! My life was finally going to change! I would finally have the chance to know what its like to breathe normally.
Three weeks later I was discharged from hospital, still feeling slightly shakey in my legs as I hadn't used them for so long! My face was very chubby due to the anti-rejection tablets called prednisolone I had to take - I hated looking like that!
The main thing was I could BREATHE! It felt AMAZING!
Now, nearly a year on, my life is finally getting back on track. I am starting as a trainee hairdresser as from September - which I have always wanted to do - but couldn't for obvious reasons. I can actually run, dance and talk an actual sentence without it leaving me feeling exhausted! I am starting my driving lessons very soon - which I cannot wait for! I'm even planning the biggest party for my 18th - even though it's next year!
I'm starting to love my life now. One thing I've learnt in life, is NEVER take life for granted and live life to the full.
You never know when it will all end."
So if that doesn't prompt you to sign the register or talk about your wishes with your family then I don't know what will. Transplants really do save lives, this young lady is proof! They transform them too and I am certainly evidence for that! I am really happy and have lots to look forward to and intend to make the most of every second and as above "NEVER take life for granted and live life to the full!" All of which would not be possible if it was not for my donor and their family.
To sign the Organ Donor Register Click here or to find out more about Organ Donation and transplants visit Live Life Then Give Life.