The words 'you need a heart transplant' are very difficult to hear. After three operations, the prospect of facing more heart surgery was pretty terrifying. I knew that this was the only way I would survive. After all the tests and appointments to prepare me for the transplant, I received the call that would give me life! It was the hospital saying they thought they had a new heart for me.
This was such a surreal moment. I had been living on 24 hour a day intravenous infusions for six months to keep my heart from failing completely. I had to fight just to live and everything I did was so difficult and so exhausting that I hardly managed. I couldn't care for my family, play with my grandchildren or walk more than a few metres.
I was driven by two strong feelings that night. One was of extreme gratitude to the generous person who had decided to donate their organs and the other one was that my fight had to go on for a little longer so I could make the best of this gift I had been given.
Since that day, I have regained so much energy. I can now do many things I couldn't even have thought of doing before. I have climbed the harbour bridge, been away on a holiday with my husband, been to the gym and played cricket in the backyard with my grandson! My husband and family have been wonderful in supporting and encouraging me to live life to the full. I will be able to watch five grandchildren grow up and I have a wedding to plan for my son. Things that I never thought I would do.
I am so grateful for this precious gift. I celebrate and give thanks to the donor and their family every day.
I want to tell everyone that it is so important to talk to your loved ones about your decision to donate. The fact that I can live my life to the full shows what an amazing gift organ donation is. I want to celebrate the doctors and nurses who do this fantastic work. Their magnificent skill gives the gift of life to those who need it.
I'm off for a bike ride now!