The turn of 2010 was filled with so much promise. Despite the difficulties of 2009, the challenges, the ups and downs, I’ve been incredibly excited about the prospects for the new year. And I still am.

But not all great things can come to pass and, following my previous post, most of you will now be aware that Jess lost her fight late on Tuesday night. After four years on the waiting list (two years longer than anyone ought to survive after being listed), Jess was just too weak to stand up to the rigours of the massive transplant surgery she underwent at the end of December.

A fighter to the last, she was up and about late last week, starting to be moved around by the physio, but she was hit by insurmountable post-transplant complications that her body just couldn’t cope with. She died peacefully with her family by her side.

Tributes have been pouring in on Facebook, Twitter and all over the news pages and TV channels which followed her story so closely. Many, many people have been affected by Jess, some who never even met her. Everyone is now feeling the overwhelming sadness and sense of lost that is infinitely magnified for her family.

Jess death will not be in vain, that much is clear. Despite the grief throughout the community, campaigners who’ve worked with and alongside Jess have already got their heads down pushing forward into new plans, ideas and ways to ensure that no one in the future has to wait until their too ill to receive a transplant.

As for me, the pain of losing two friends in two months is strong, but not as strong as my determination to make the most of the new life I’ve been given. The new project I’ve been working on for the last couple of months is finally coming to fruition and I’m pulling together several strands of things I’ve always wanted to do.

Here’s to a 2010 that serves not only to bring health, joy and happiness to all of us, but also to honour the memory of all those we’ve lost. Take care of yourself and remember to try – hard as it my be – to smile through it.

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