Firstly, Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone had a Christmas full of laughter, fun and merriment.
I had a wonderful Christmas; our family have these traditions which we’ve done since I can remember and which are described beautifully by my sister here. It’s very much a family affair, which I love, and which I feel Christmas should be. However this blog isn’t really going to be about me, it’s going to be about Jess.
The week before Christmas, Jess was admitted to hospital through her local A&E. She was a poorly girl, and as we got closer to the 25th, it became apparent that she would not be well enough to return home for Christmas day. Following a long chat on the phone, Sarah and I decided that if she couldn’t go home for Christmas, Christmas would have to come to her. We contacted as many of her online friends as we could (in a short and hurried space of time) and donations came flooding in. People wanted to contribute to Jess’ Christmas day; I think the unspoken but shared emotion was that it could well be her last.
I met Sarah, along with her girls Hope and Ellie, up at the hospital, with bags of beautiful decorations, luxury food items, and presents, all paid for by caring folk from the CF and Transplant communities.
Jess' pink purple sparkly Christmas tree
Fairy lights and Christmas nibbles.
There’s a little video that you can view here (if you are a facebook user) of us decorating the room.
Jess really was a very poorly girl, and a few days after Christmas, I got a phone call from her mum saying she had taken a turn for the worse. Four and a half years of waiting and her body was running out of steam; we were out of time.
That night, something incredible happened. Somewhere out there, a family suffered the unthinkable and lost someone they loved. And at that moment, in that time of grief, they decided to consent to their loved ones organs being donated. Jess was called, and the transplant went ahead. I suspect if it hadn’t, I would have been making some very hard phone calls to our mutual friends over the next day or so.
As I have mentioned before, I am not religious. I do not believe in prayer (although I very much appreciate why people do it; feeling helpless is pretty horrible), but I do believe in the power of people. I think it is incredible that so many people have shown so much love and caring for Jess, and have fought for her and along side her all this way. I think it is magical that people at such a horrific time of grief can be big enough to think of others and to hope that through their personal tragedy, some good may emerge. I think it is astounding that Jess has managed to fight this hard, for so long, and survive the impossible. I think people are amazing.
It is very early days for Jess, and she still has a long way to go, but there is a shared feeling of relief all round. She now has a chance, the chance that she’d desperately hoped for and clung on to. All thanks to someone quite ordinary, who never met her, who chose to do something amazing and signed the Organ Donor Register.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2010, with one final quote which I look to again and again and will continue to aim towards next year:
"be the change you want to see in the world."