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Alison's story

By Alison

I was nearly two when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes). My parents were told this was a 'life sentence, with no cure'.

That news changed my whole family. Daily urine testing and injecting became the routine. As time went by and technology improved, blood testing with four injections a day was the routine. I grew up with a future filled with fear of amputations, blindness and continual illness - not like the other kids who were dreaming of fun, family and future.

I was warned not to have children as this would accelerate the damage to my kidneys but I wasn't going to let my condition stop me. I now have two beautiful children.

As I got older, I was fast becoming very ill. High blood pressure, swelling limbs, unforgiving tiredness and vomiting - all while I was still working full time and bringing up my teenage kids and trying to fulfill their needs as a single parent.

At this time my son was in his decision-making years at school. My daughter was an angel, caring for me and accepting of the circumstances. My partner entered our life during this chaotic period of illness and teenagers needs. Then, when I was told that I needed a transplant to stay alive, he accepted this news without any hesitation of the journey ahead.

After having diabetes for most of my life, to hear that I needed a transplant for my kidney and pancreas I felt a mixture of emotions - shock, disbelief and excitement, but most of all anticipation of a future.

We got the call at 1.48 am. I knew it was my gain, but at someone else's loss. I shed the first of many tears for the donor. I think of my donor and their family as much as I think of my own family now.

My support from the first day until now has been my partner. The only way to describe him is 'my rock'. Every day I'm thankful for my family's support during my time of need and also the donor family's generous gift to me. If not for that generous decision by the family, my life would be a different story.

I can now look forward to spending many healthy years with 'my rock' and spending more time with my children. I am able to see grandchildren in my future which was something I was afraid to dream of before.

Alison