Organ and Tissue Donation Ambassador, Tor Tremlett shares her experience of waiting on the transplant list and receiving a life-saving organ.
My name is Victoria (Tor to most people) and I received a double lung transplant 7 years ago. I also work for NHSBT as a volunteer tissue donation ambassador and have needed several pints of blood in my time, so I’ve benefitted from nearly everything NHSBT can offer!
I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, the UK’s most common genetic condition. The disease aﬀects every organ in the body but mainly the lungs and pancreas. Despite following my treatments to the letter, by the age of 19, my health was really struggling. I was undergoing more and more treatments but they became less and less eﬀective.
I collapsed one morning on the way to work and that was when things changed irrevocably. I felt as though I’d been placed in a body that didn’t work: I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think straight. I was placed on oxygen 24 hours a day and went home in a wheelchair knowing I couldn’t just ‘carry on’ anymore.
I asked to be assessed for transplant as I knew the time was right and in 2007 I was placed on the active transplant list. I waited 4 years for my lungs. during that time my health declined further. Everything left me breathless. I needed help getting washed, getting dressed and even needed help to brush my hair. I was practically housebound, in constant pain and gasping for breath. I was also under hospice care and had an end of life plan in case the call didn’t come. At the age of 24 I wasn’t ready for my life to be over.
My transplant transformed my life. Its allowed me to do so many big things like graduating and celebrating my 30th birthday as well as a million little miracles like seeing my niece and nephews grow up, sitting in the sunshine and running for a bus.
I think of my donor every day and say thank you for the way he transformed my life. I will be forever grateful.
I volunteer to promote organ and tissue donation. They can both transform and save lives. To me it is a tragedy that organs are buried or burned when they could literally give someone back their life and transform it beyond recognition.
Please consider signing the organ donor list this organ donation week and tell your family your wishes. If you or someone you know needed an organ would you take one?
Let life live on!
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