Just another challenge in my life and I will win it. These are the words I said after my heart transplant. With my outlook on life and determination there is no doubt that I have won!
My remarkable story begins when I was 30 years young and 26 weeks pregnant with my second child. I had a sudden cardiac arrest in front of the Year 9 students I was teaching. For many years I had been involved in teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and spreading the work about its importance in the community.
The students were able to revive me with the help of two teachers from the school who performed CPR and kept my blood flow going until the ambulance arrived and I was defibrillated on the classroom floor. I was then flown by the rescue helicopter to hospital where I underwent a caesarean and baby Katy was born while I was still on life support. I woke up about a week later and had no idea what had happened. Katy was very premature but survived her incredible entry into the world.
I was then diagnosed with hypertrophic cardio-myopathy and fitted with an implantable defibrillator as a back up just in case another such incident should occur. A number of other problems started to appear and two years later it was recommended that I be placed on the waiting list for a 'new' heart.
After 11 weeks on the list, I received the telephone call of a life time. Although I had a tough road to recovery, my spirits remained high. I did everything the doctors told me to do and with the love and support of my husband Gary and my two daughters, Grace and Katy, I have overcome another hurdle in my life.
Living a near normal, wonderful life is how I describe myself today. Apart from taking drugs (which I never had to before), I can do anything!
I devote most of my time not only advocating for CPR and defibrillators in the community, but have now added organ donation to my story.
Like many others I am most grateful and humbled by the family's decision to donate at a very tragic and sensitive time. Organ donation is vital so that many more lives can be saved. Remember, one day it could be you who needs another organ.