Inspirational Kirstie feels like the “luckiest person alive” after second death-defying double lung transplant
INSPIRATIONAL organ donation campaigner Kirstie Tancock said she feels like the “luckiest person alive” after her second death-defying double lung transplant.
The 23-year-old from Honiton underwent the life saving operation on Saturday – just two days after being told she was too ill to be re-listed.
But once again Kirstie has battled seemingly impossible odds and after fresh tests showed she could be put back on the transplant list a match was found just a day later.
Medical staff have declared her operation a success and Kirstie is now breathing by herself and has even been able to walk on the spot.
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And in a message that will thrill her followers she said: “I feel like the luckiest girl alive. Thank you to everyone for supporting me.”
But her thoughts lay firmly with her two donors. She added: “I would just like to say that without either of my donors I would not be here today.
“I'm forever grateful to them and their families and they are constantly in my thoughts and I wish them all the love and peace in the world.”
Her mother Linda Freeman, who has been by her daughter’s bedside at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex, added: “Kirstie is doing fantastically and is breathing independently without the need for oxygen. She has been up walking on the spot and exercising.
“Her initial recovery has been so much quicker this time around. Last time she was ECMO for a while before but this time she is amazing.
“She just feels really happy - as we all are. Last week she was facing up to dying within a few weeks and now she has a new lease of life again. She is very happy. At the moment she has a massive smile on her face and is feeling very positive about things.”
Kirstie, who is well known as a leading campaigner for organ donation had her first transplant two years ago after being airlifted to hospital just two weeks after walking up the aisle.
Her story was made into a BBC documentary. Since then she has raised several thousand pounds for charity and gone on to accomplish “impossible dreams.”
But in recent weeks her health had been deteriorating rapidly and she had suffered from chronic rejection.
But after her latest operation Kirstie’s husband Stu thanked friends and well-wishers for their many messages of support and said their thoughts were with the family of the donor who has given Kirstie a third chance at life.
He said: “Once she was in the operating theatre my mind turned to her previous donor and their family and the two years they gave to Kirstie and what she did in that time. I’m just praying that they know what Kirstie did and that they got her here.
“She really did do the donor proud, she was non-stop in her goal to get people to be organ donors enjoyed life to the full and finally she had a bond with them, one that I know played on her mind. She didn’t want to let these lungs go they gave her so much she had so much respect for what they gave her.
“I was also thinking about the current donor, praying that they didn’t have to suffer and thinking about the pain their family must be in. I really have no idea how they are dealing with such a tragedy. I was in pieces after Wednesday and I still had Kirstie in my arms for a few more weeks.
“I’m so sorry for their loss and all I can do is promise you Kirstie will give these lungs the same respect and love she gave to the last. And thank you everyday for the great gift that they have given, we will also never forget the last ones also thanking them every day, as without them she would quite simply not be here.”
In her last on-line blog before being told a match had been found transplant she revealed she had just weeks left to live unless another suitable match could be found.
She wrote: “I still only have a few weeks window for transplant as I'm so ill and unfortunately I have extremely high anti bodies of 80 per cent meaning the likelihood in getting a match is very slim and there is no way they can bridge me on ecmo this time.
“So once we miss the boat it is truly missed and there's no more tricks up our sleeves. This means palliative care is still very important but we have a chance, a small window of hope. They repeatedly said if anyone can do it I can!
“Please keep praying for me and hoping that this small window is all we need.”
Since the positive news of her transplant one of her close friends Marie Gorfin has set up a page for people to help Kirstie achieve some of her dreams.
She said: “Kirstie has amazed me in all the time I have known her, but never as much as this week. Close to having to say goodbye to friends and family once again, she defied all odds and has just undergone a second double lung transplant.”
Visit the page at http://fundsforkirstie.weebly.com/