During Organ Donation Week, double transplant recipient Helen Wilson speaks about the Westfield Health British Transplant Games 2017 and why it is so important to raise awareness of the phenomenal ‘Gift of Life’.
My name is Helen Wilson, I am 55 years old and have been married to Chris for nearly 27 years. Without the wonder of organ donation, I would not be here.
I’ve written a blog for Westfield Health in the past, which tells my story, but during Organ Donation Week I wanted to take the opportunity to remind people of the phenomenal ‘Gift of Life’ and update on how I got on at this year’s Westfield Health British Transplant Games.
As a double transplant recipient, I know only too well the benefits of transplantation.
I’ve had both a kidney transplant, which was lovingly donated by my brother in 2007, and a liver transplant in December 2013 following diagnoses of both polycystic kidney and liver disease.
I am an incredibly lucky person and would not be here if it were not for my brother coming forward and the amazing generosity of my donor family in allowing me to receive a new liver from a loved one.
Since then, I have been spending my time living and enjoying my life and doing what I can to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation – the Westfield Health British Transplant Games are a fantastic way of doing this.
The Games are all about showcasing the benefits of organ donation and celebrating life, as well as ensuring that as many people as possible not only join the Organ Donor Register, but also express their organ donation wishes with their loves ones.
I was delighted to compete at the Games for the third time this year and this time in Motherwell, Scotland. With my husband cheering me on every step of the way I secured a bronze medal in archery, silver in 100m and three gold medals in discus, shot putt and javelin. To say I am delighted is an understatement!
Through competing at the Games, I have met some amazing people who are organ recipients like me. I have also met some amazing people from donor families and am still blown away by the joy they get from seeing people like me doing the things I am doing. I am in awe of them and love having the opportunity to talk to them and hear their stories.
My donor family are always in our thoughts. I write to them each year to let them know what I have been up to and hope that this brings them some comfort.
I would encourage all families to have the conversation that says “I want to be an organ donor” so that when the time comes, everyone knows the wishes of other people in their family. This means the most generous gift of all can be given to save the lives of people who would otherwise not make it.
Please help to give other people the same chances that I have had and sign up on the Organ Donor Register and have the conversation with your family to say that you wish to be a donor.
The gift of life is phenomenal and so is the amazing impact it has on people and their families – I should know!