I woke up to hear the very sad news that Jessica Wales who I photographed here and here sadly passed away last night.
A complete fighter from start to finish Jess was on the transplant list for 4 years waiting for a call to give her a double lung transplant. She was given two years to live when she first went on the list but shocked doctors by outliving their exceptations by two years.
During those four years Jess endured nine false alarms for transplant. For those of you who are reading this and aren't in the 'transplant world' this is when a donor pair of lungs is found for you, you receive a phone call that tells you to get down to the hospital straight away and prepare for transplant, your heart races, your spirits life - this could be the day your life is saved - you go through numerous tests at the hospital, sitting around for hours hardly daring to move through nervous excitment and then suddenly a Doctor takes you in to a little room and tells you that the donor organ are too damaged/you are too ill for transplant or another reason that sends you crashing down once again into dispair. This happened to Jess NINE times. How she got through this I will never know.
A couple of days after Christmas Jess received her tenth call - and this time the transplant went ahead. Her friends and family were overjoyed - what a Christmas present! Sadly the call didn't come in time for Jess, her body was too weak to withstand such huge surgery and she passed away peacefully surrounded by her family last night.
She was one in a million - a complete super star. I feel honoured to have met her and photographed her. We should all feel inspired by Jess as her sheer strength and determination was incredible.
Please sign the organ donor register to stop this happening again and again. Today three other people will have died from lack of a transplant. This has to stop. We have to do something about this.
Please take two minutes out of your day and sign up to the UK transplant donor list in honour of Jess.