My Valentine's Day gift
  • Browse
  • Print
  • Close

My Valentine's Day gift

By Katrina

'Will it make me feel better?' was my one and only question when my parents told me I needed a heart transplant.

I was 11 at the time. I was extremely lucky and only had to wait two and a half weeks until I got my second chance at life.

A lot of people don't even get that, but each and every day I thank the donor and the family for giving me the gift of life.

I was born with a hole in my heart which was found when I was three years old. I was in and out of hospital at age five and ended up having to have an artificial heart valve and an artificial pacemaker. After my pacemaker insertion, I was fine for a few years until the batteries in the pacemaker 'ran out'. I went into hospital when I was 11 to have a routine pacemaker changeover. Unfortunately, I was getting sicker not better and by the time the doctors found out the reason was due to an MRSA infection, only 60% of my heart muscle was working and they told me I needed to have a heart transplant.

Two and a half weeks later, on Valentine's Day, I got the call to say there was a heart for me.

If it wasn't for the gift of life from my donor, I would not be here. I say to family and friends, 'you don't need your organs when you die, why not save someone's life?'

I'm an organ donor, so when my time is up, hopefully I can also save someone's life.

I understand it is a hard decision to make when faced with the question, which is why it is very important to discuss it when you are alive!