At the age of 17 I was diagnosed with a liver disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). The news came as quite a shock to me as I was quite healthy and active as a kid and loved my sports, especially soccer.
Whilst the PSC was slow progressing, I had other health issues (namely Crohns disease) that I had to deal with more urgently. As a young adult, it became increasing difficult to excel at sport (though I was passionate about training and doing my best). I tried not to let my illnesses define or limit my life. For the next 15 years I continued to play soccer, complete my university education, run a business and travel the world.
By the age 31 as a result of my Crohns disease, I had undergone three major bowel surgeries in 18 months. Afterwards at the age of 33 I was feeling fit, healthy and energetic which I hadn’t felt for a long time.
Much to my surprise, only a year after I was feeling great my PSC had progressed to a point where I was experiencing more symptoms from the liver disease such as jaundice, ascites (abdominal swelling) and severe fatigue, making it very difficult to live a normal life. As a result of my liver disease, I was put on the transplant waiting list, though at times I wondered if I was actually sick enough to warrant a transplant. Seven months later I was given the amazing gift of a healthy, strong liver from my donor.
Only three months post-transplant I feel so incredibly different. I have the energy to take life head on once again, no longer surviving day by day. Thanks to the transplant and generosity of my donor and their family, I will hold my first baby in my arms in less than two months.
Each day I’m grateful for my family, friends, my medical team but most of all my donor. I pray for my donor and their family, understanding the grief they have experienced due to the loss of their loved one. I pray for all those waiting on the transplant waiting lists, knowing how hard and taxing it can be on the recipients physically and mentally and how difficult it is for their carers who have to watch their loved ones in pain.
I look forward to many years ahead enjoying life and making the most of each day. One day I hope that I can repay this invaluable gift I have been given!