Monday was a day of emotions like no other.
On the one hand, my friend and ally in many things, Tor, finally received the life-saving transplant she’s been waiting over 4 years for. She can finally stop waiting and start the long journey into her new life.
No sooner had the emotions begun to settle than I heard that my friend and inspiration to many, Rachael, was preparing her final goodbyes, having been told by the doctor that there is nothing more they can do.
Tor always staggered me with her courage, fortitude and stubborn refusal to let CF beat her, reminding me in so many ways of the wonderful Jess, who we lost just days after her long-awaited transplant last year. Tor has fought and battled and grappled with everything life has chosen to fling at her over the last four years – and throughout her life before that – and faced it with a characteristic smile, passion and commitment to not letting it get in the way.
Rachy has inspired many people, often first to lend support to people going through their own tough times, even as her transplant turned against her and her lungs deteriorated just 3 months after being given her second chance. Always open, honest and available to all her friends, she humbles us all with her humility and love.
Rachy is all the more remarkable for having posted on her blog on Sunday a simple picture and the words
Rachael Wakefield, a life lived surrounded by love, with my second chance of life time is now precious, I’d like to thank all and everyone for your continued support, love to you all xxx Rachy xxx
Her quiet dignity in saying her goodbyes and inviting those of her friends and followers has seen her Facebook page deluged with outpourings of love and grief filled with the same passionate fervour as Tor’s has been with messages of excitement and prayers of hope.
What’s made this week so hard is that both of these women are at once utterly, beautifully unique, yet sadly not alone.
Every day we lose 3 people waiting for transplants in this country, mostly for the simple reason that not enough organs are available for transplant. If you haven’t already, you need to sign the organ donor register now.
It’s depressingly simple – taking less than 2 minutes and but a few clicks – but far too few people have done it. No one like Tor should have to wait 4 years to be given a second chance at life.
Although we all know the risks going in to transplant, and although many of us have watched Rachy’s progress with a “There but for the grace of God go I” viewpoint, I know Rachy wouldn’t have traded a second of the post-transplant life had she known what lay in store.
I’ve always said I wanted six months of a better life post-transplant and I’d be happy. That a chance to play football with my Godsons, to run around in the garden, to do something without calculating how much oxygen I’d need to take would be enough for me.
I’ve been blessed with almost 4 years of new life and I thank my donor and their family for it every day. And I’m saddened every day for those who have never had the chance Rachael, or Tor, or I have had.
Don’t let life pass you by. Take it, seize it, make the very most of it. And please, once your done, pass your organs on.