Transplantion is a gift, an extension on life. It is not a cure and complications/side effects from medications can occur. My life is one with a positive attitude through days which maybe harder than others. I live my life and love every day I wake up and still alive. Sometimes, my breathing may be an issue - but I keep going and get on with it! I do what I can and as best as I can. Sadly, along the way friends loose their battle post transplant with either rejection or further complications after catching a virus for example. We know on the onset these things may happen as immuno-suppressed, but, as I've always said and those who know me well now. I believe I will be the longest living 'blue-rinse' granny double-lung transplantee ;)
So, this brings me onto the gorgeous Bree as in this photo. Bree and I were internet friends for many years through our illnesses, then I got my transplant. Bree kept wishing she would too and I promised her she would get her lungs and on 07/08/09 she did! :)
I travelled to Canada last October (where Bree lives) and made sure we met whilst there. Our silly, giggly times were real and not just online chat or Facebook messages. It was lovely to meet Bree finally and have an awesome inspiring time together. Now Bree has now gone to be with the angels, just under 2 years since her 'gift' due to a viral neurological infection which took her sight and now recently her life. Very sad indeed......
However....please still be inspired for as tragic as this is - transplantation is still a wonderful thing, as gives people like Bree and I extra time on life, that without, I simply wouldn't be typing now to you all. Also, why I continue to raise awareness on the importance of Organ Donation - as seriously you don't need your organs when your body is at rest. And registering online takes a few minutes and goes on to save the future of others - like it did mine. To register click here Register Thank you xx
There are also some people who live for many many years post transplant - there is no rule - no A-Z guidebook, and everyone is different. I would like to mention some friends in this blog who are also part of Team GB and achieving well post their transplants (further down into my write up)
Here we all are as, Team GB going to the World Transplant Games 17th-24th June 2011 in Gothenburg, Sweden for the 18th World Transplant Games. Can you spot me in the photo ;)
"The Summer World Transplant Games take place every two years where over 1500 athletes representing some 69 countries compete at an extraordinarily high level. Many however just come to enjoy taking part at their own pace and welcome the opportunity to meet with other transplant recipients in an atmosphere of fun and friendship" (taken from the WTGF website) The World Transplant Games Federation is officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee.
On Sunday 22nd May, there was our last Team GB meeting and an early alarm wake up 5.15am was set. My friend, Jason would be collecting me at 6am for a 2.5 hour drive to get to the destination for more training too. Here I am ready for badminton. My events run over 3 consecutive days in Sweden and no doubt I will be shattered after. Just will be needing some R&R (rest & relaxation after). Nevermind, the fact soon after I get home, I have 2 final sailing courses for my Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race. And, I will miss the British Transplant Games this year, shortly after the sailing courses finish....as I need say 'NO' and give my body a chance to chill :)
Me saying 'No' to something is unheard of, but, I am trying to learn to say this and have time for me and my precious lungs x
After some hours of playing badminton, we had the last meeting and learnt that 130 transplant athletes were part of Team GB (including the junior athletes) representing our Country in a variety of sports ranging from:- Badminton, Bowling, Cycling, Golf, Road Race, Squash, Swimming, Track & Field, Table Tennis, Tennis and Volleyball and so on!
Quick lunch pit stop, then team photo in our Team GB outside in the sun, and ding dong!! Round 2 of more training. Time for some Squash tips from the reigning champ, Ami. I have to admit I was exhausted and knew I wouldn't be able to do much but mustered on for maybe another 30mins or so until I knew I had to stop.
Shower and then homeward bound and for the countdown to commence until we are in Sweden....
OOps how did this get here, a sneaky peek at me at my local sports track ;)
Ok here are some other athletes from left to right:- Jade, Lisa, Kaylee, Me, and Emma. Now carry on reading and be inspired :)
Jade Transplant type: Heart Years Post Transplant: 14 years Reason for Transplant: born with dilated cardiomyopathy Sports entering in World Games: badminton singles & mixed, 100m sprint, ball throw, long jump and 4 x 100 relay race.
Lisa Transplant type: Double Lungs & Heart Years Post Transplant: 18 years Reason for Transplant: Cystic Fibrosis Sports entering: Badminton & Tennis
Kaylee Transplant Type: Heart Years Post Transplant: 24 years Reason for Transplant: Cardiomyopathy Sports entering: 100, 200m sprint, Badminton singles, 10 Pin Bowling & Long Jump Kaylee had her transplant at just 5months old, and is the longest surviving heart recipient in the UK!
Justine (me) Transplant type: Double-Lungs Years Post Transplant: 5 years this July! Reason for Transplant: Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) Sports entering: 100m sprint, Badminton mixed doubles & Badminton ladies doubles & Squash
Emma Transplant type: Heart Years Post Transplant: 9 years Reason for Transplant: Dilated Cardiomyopathy Sports entering: 100m, 200m, 50m freestyle swim, long jump & maybe relay race
More athletes Andy on left and Kez on the right.
Transplant Type: Heart
Years Post Transplant: 4.5 years Reason for Transplant: Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Sports entering: Long jump, High Jump, Squash & 10 Pin Bowling
I also asked my friends if there was anything like they would like to add and it basically mirrors all I live for, and that their donor is very much loved and we are grateful to these donors. We are all proud to be part of Team GB and happy for support from family, friends and all of you's!!
Onto some good news, after returning home today, I recieved a letter saying that I have been selected to be a Sports Ambassador in my Borough and to make 'Personal Appearances' within this role. I feel very honoured and humbled and hope to inspire others with illnesses, disabilities, and awaiting transplants.
So there we go... R.I.P my dear friend Bree and let us all continue to grow strong, be inspired, be positive and treat every day as a truly beautiful thing. Do not take life for granted - and do something good today - tell people about the 'Gift of Life'
Thanks and happy smiles to each of you, and for the continuous support you give me xx