'My donor gave me the opportunity to truly live'

INDEPENDENT I.E. | Aoife Breen

The woman at the top of the room told us that one of us wasn't going to make it. Well, what she said was that 18pc of people in need of a liver transplant wouldn't get one in time. I remember the hairs standing up on the back of my neck. There were six of us at the transplant education day.

Having been diagnosed with a liver disease associated with cystic fibrosis (CF) at the age of six, I didn't really notice the symptoms: they were all part of 'normal'.

But in May 2012, I awoke in the middle of the night and threw up about half a litre of blood. Six weeks later it was almost my full blood supply over a few hours. The veins in my oesophagus had ruptured as a result of a dysfunctional liver. A leading consultant stood at the end of my hospital bed and voiced his opinion: "It's time to start considering a transplant."

My future vaporised with those words: my liver was slowly dying, and without the generosity of a stranger, I would die, too.

Thus began the hardest battle of my life: recovery after a summer of constant illness - not to be 'better' but to be 'better enough' to qualify for a transplant. The irony of life on the transplant list is that you have to be sick - but well enough to survive the wait. Continue reading

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