When she was around 46, my mother was told that she was very ill and required a lung transplant. Over the next three years, she deteriorated substantially.
Very early one morning, the hospital called advising us that a transplant was possible and she had to get to the hospital. We were elated at the opportunity for Mum, yet saddened that this opportunity only came because someone else had died and another family was grieving.
As I watched her roll away on a gurney, I wondered if this was the last time we were going to see her alive. The transplant was a success, it was text book and she rested comfortably in ICU.
Within the next 12 hours, things went terribly wrong and all of her organs started to shut down. There was talk that she was rejecting the lung and it would only be a matter of time. A couple of months went by and we were asked to make the decision about her future. We had already discussed this with Mum and we knew her wishes.
The machines were switched off and we were told, again, it wouldn't take long for her to be resting peacefully. Within 12 hours, she had started to respond and she, very slowly, started to regain consciousness.
Within a few days she was able to communicate with us. Then with a couple of months in rehab she was back home again.
Sadly, we lost Mum after a few years due to complications. She was not yet 54.
There is another family who lost their loved one and in doing so, ensured that ours could live. It was an unselfish gift from someone whom we didn't even know and whose family we are forever grateful to. We got to spend five more years with Mum that we otherwise would not have had. Whoever you are, you will never know what you did for us but you will always remain in our hearts and thoughts - thank you is not enough but it's all I have to give.