June 2018 marked the 15th anniversary of my liver transplant. Definitely something to celebrate!
I was born without a bile duct, a condition called Biliary Atresia.
Luckily my jaundice was noticed by my health visitor and I was quickly referred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. My parents had no idea that I was so poorly, and it was a huge shock for them to be told that I would need immediate surgery and possibly a liver transplant.
A Kasia operation to create a bile duct was performed when I was 6 weeks old. The procedure gave me a chance to recover and grow, but my liver function didn’t improve sufficiently.
Shortly before my first birthday my parents were told that I wouldn’t reach my second birthday unless I had a transplant.
My diet and condition were managed carefully, and I was put onto the transplant list. After six weeks, my parents got the call they had been both dreading and hoping for.
A liver was available.
After spending the whole day in hospital, we were sent home because the liver wasn’t suitable. Disappointed they took me home and put me to bed.
Later the same evening they got a second call. This time everything was fine and the operation went ahead.
After my transplant, my Grandad asked the nurses if I would ever be able to kick a ball around and play football with friends. He thought that I wouldn’t be able to live a normal life.
As I was only 15 months old, I can’t remember anything about it.
I do have memories of the 15 years of life it has given me so far. I have lived every day to the full, playing football, skiing, representing Great Britain at the World Transplant Games and getting a good set of GCSE results. None of these would have been possible without my donor.
Thanks to the incredible generosity of the donor family and the doctors, I have been able to have a second chance of life. Something I am incredibly grateful for.
Since my transplant there have been some setbacks including chickenpox, pneumonia and shingles. I haven’t let these set me back, I have recovered and come back stronger and fighting harder.
My transplant has made me thankful for everything I have; seeing and hearing other people’s stories and challenges has opened my eyes, I don’t take anything for granted. My day to day life is no different from that of my friends.
My transplant has given me my life and I am making the most of every opportunity.
In 2008 I went to my first ever Transplant Games in Coventry and this year I competed in my 11th British Transplant Games in my home city of Birmingham.
In 2017, I also represented Team GB at the World Transplant Games in Malaga. The main goal of the games was to increase awareness of transplantation and to encourage more people to join the donor register, so that more people can be given lifesaving transplants.
I am so thankful to my donor. I urge every single person to sign the register, and talk about organ donation.
Thank you for reading my story.