Six years ago I was diagnosed with a lung disease called pulmonary fibrosis. There was evidence that medication could not help this condition as scarring is permanent once it has developed. For a non-smoker this news was very hard to understand because the scarring of my lungs was going to end my life. A lung transplant for me was the only option available. Before my double lung transplant I was reliant on oxygen 24 hours a day and fearful I may not see another Christmas.
My life has been saved by the very generous gift that one person and their family made - the special gift of new lungs. I haven't felt this good in seven years. After three months recovery I could go back to work with two of my three sons in the building industry and very much enjoying my second chance at life.
Since my transplant, I have met a lot of special doctors and nurses as well as a number of young people training to be a part of an amazing team involved in transplant. It is thanks to people donating the greatest gift possible - LIFE that people like me have been given a second chance. I can plan for a future with family and friends.
At this stage I am taking a lot of medication and every day I think of the person and their family that have had so much pain in their life. I hope that time and the strength of family and friends will make things easier for them. I have never met my donor family but I promise to value the gift they have given me.
I would like to encourage people to talk to their family and friends about their decision to ensure organs can be given to those in need if the time comes.