Kirstie's heartfelt message after second lung transplant
Inspirational organ donation campaigner Kirstie Tancock said she feels like the "luckiest person alive" after her second 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: fresh tests showed she could be put back on the transplant list and just a day afterwards a match was found.
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 (on oxygen) 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 thousands of 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.
After her latest operation Kirstie's husband Stu thanked friends and well-wishers for their many messages of support.
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."