Friday, 15 February 2013

Ready, Willing and Prepared!

The evening that followed the filming by ITN for 'From the Heart', Rob was just 'tweeting' around and was soon being followed by 106 Jack FM Hertfordshire, the local radio station for Hertfordshire. They then messaged him and asked if we would like to do an interview to raise awareness about organ donation, so an interview was arranged on the following morning ready to be broadcast on their Friday morning news programmes. Excellent timing just before the big ITV launch 'From the Heart'.  So excitement again on Thursday as Chris from Jack FM came round to record a radio interview.

Jack FM featured my interview on their hourly news bulletins from 6 in the morning until mid afternoon, so there was lots of air time given to it and hopefully it may have encouraged their listeners to sign up to the organ donor register. They have also put the news article on their website and the radio interview so hopefully many more people may have seen it on there too and signed up. So a big thank you to Chris and all at 106 Jack FM Hertfordshire for their help in spreading the word about the chronic shortage of organ donors and helping in my appeal to get people to sign up.

The link to 106 Jack FM Hertfordshire's broadcast, if you didn't hear it, is :

The previous week I had also been contacted by Emma, a reporter from the Welwyn Hatfield Times, which is the local paper for my area, she had been following my blog and offered do a piece to help us spread awareness. We had already arranged this before I knew we would be part of the 'From the Heart' campaign by ITV, so again it turned out to be very well timed, as the article was planned for publication on Wednesday 13th February, the biggest day in the 'From the Heart' Campaign. So again, we really hope that the article will help bring organ donation to the forefront of people's minds and get people thinking about and discussing organ donation, especially when they are seeing a lot on TV about it.      

When we had been filmed by ITN, Lawrence had told us that our piece would probably be aired alongside another patient who was waiting for a heart and double lung transplant too. This would be a young Cystic Fibrosis patient, he explained, who he had interviewed that morning and he had been impressed with how bubbly, enthusiastic and full of life she was considering how poorly she was and that she was facing transplant.  When Emma came to interview us, she had a lot of empathy for our cause as she explained her cousin who had Cystic Fibrosis was currently in Papworth and waiting for a heart and lung transplant. Well you may guess the coincidence - yes it was the same lovely patient that Lawrence had interviewed, who would be featured with us when our ITV interview was to be broadcast! How is that for a small world? Rob and I have now been chatting with her and wish her well for her transplant and hope it comes soon.  

Hopefully, at some point I may be able to give you the link to this news article soon. On Friday morning Rob was also contacted by the Comet, a newspaper for North Hertfordshire and this week an article was published about us in that too. Again, I hope I can give you a link to this soon as well.

We had planned to go up to Cumbria and Lancashire for a little break and to catch up with my family and friends and it was the third attempt we had made since I was ill in December. We postponed our Christmas visit because I had only just come out of hospital and didn't feel well enough to go and our proposed January visit was scuppered by snow. So we managed to get to Cumbria at last on Saturday, had lunch in our favourite pub, The Strickland Arms at Sizergh (, spent Sunday catching up with family at my mum's in Lancashire and Monday catching up with friends. We had a lovely lunch out at another favourite pub in Arnside, The Albion ( which has fantastic views across to Grange-Over-Sands and the Lake District mountains beyond and then we drove over the Lyth Valley - a beautiful scenic drive- down into  Bowness on Windermere. It looked stunning in Bowness with the snow capped mountains, winter sunshine and the boats on Lake Windermere.

Cheeky swan!
In Bowness, there are many little shops to browse around, trouble is for me it's a little bit steep and hilly, but I've done it before and I just slowly took my time, walking very slowly and stopping when I needed to get my breath while pretending to look in a shop window. Every shop window was dressed for Valentine's Day and there were heart displays on show everywhere. It felt very poignant, the hearts had a different meaning to me and I was overwhelmingly reminded about my need for a new heart and the ITV From the Heart Campaign as I looked into every shop window.

Trust him to muscle in on the act!
On Tuesday we came home and our bit for ITV was aired on the main 6.30pm and 10 O'clock news programmes. There is something very surreal about seeing yourself on the TV. On the bit where they say 'coming up next', my picture flashed up and then a picture of the Pope followed, which felt very bizarre. True to form, that gave Rob and the girls a giggle, 'mum with the pope', what next? And then we were on the news and hopefully have helped play a little part in raising awareness of the need for people to sign up to the organ donor register.

As soon as we had been on air the first time, we were inundated with messages from friends and acquaintances saying they had signed up to be organ donors. My sister's son's school is going to run some special assemblies and put it in their newsletter and a colleague of Rob's has just donated £500 to the PHA Association UK. So a pretty fabulous, unexpected, overwhelming and humbling response from our families and friends!  

The following day I just happened to have the local Anglia news on TV, which was just pure luck, as we receive Anglia News in one of our rooms and in another get London local news. I had a bit of a shock as our news interview appeared again within a feature about both Addenbrookes and Papworth Transplant Centres. The link for that feature, which is an excellent feature calling for more organ donors, is below, just click on the big red 'From the Heart' logo.

Wednesday should have been more of a normal day - well except for Stacie, my friend, being on Daybreak that is, plus the special 'Tonight' programme and celebrity programme 'From the Heart' - so it became even more exciting when we found out we were on the news again too!

Link to Stacie & Megan on Daybreak:

Thursday, we tried to come back to earth a bit, with a visit to Papworth, for my bone density scans, these are in preparation for my expected transplant, to make sure my bones are strong enough before I will need to start taking steroids for the rest of my life post transplant. Steroids can cause osteoporosis and weakening of the bones when taken for a long time. All was done and dusted quickly in the clinic and before we drove up to Papworth, they had contacted us to say pop in and see the news crew while we were there. So after my scan we went to the Transplant Continuing Care Unit and as we walked in I thought gosh it looks busy, then realised that a big group of the people in there were the film crew, dressed in scrubs as they had been filming in the theatre. We got to meet the whole team and had a good chat about the last few weeks events. It all felt a little surreal sitting with a TV crew dressed in scrubs in my transplant clinic! It was good to get a chance to meet all of them and thank them for what they have done for us and everyone else in need of a life saving organ this week.

Today as I'm about to publish this, it is Friday, the past seven days have been hectic and so it is a resting day for me and the rest of the weekend, to catch myself up from all the excitement. I am so looking forward to weekend as Rose is coming home from university for a week and should be home tonight.    

I really want to thank ITV from the bottom of my heart for the coverage they have given to organ donation this week, it was reported earlier in the week that over 30,000 more people have signed up, so hopefully by the time I publish this blog that figure will have gone up even more significantly.  I am excited to find out just how big an impact this week's campaign has had and really hope it's helped. For me, not only has it been a big boost to raise awareness of organ donation, but somehow this week I don't feel quite so much on my own, somehow I don't feel quite so isolated being in this situation. Suddenly it seems the world has woken up to the plight we have found ourselves in, suddenly people are beginning to understand, suddenly I'm not just one of a few lone voices anymore. So thank you ITV.

My wait for my transplant is usually always there lurking in the background of my mind, but this week has been strange, first with all the talking in public about it and then the issues surrounding organ donation being constantly highlighted on TV. Transplant is at the forefront of and prominent in my mind this week. I think my awareness of my own situation has been heightened and if ever there is a time I was ready for this impending transplant, it is now. So I will keep hoping it will be soon.

Winter sunset, Lake Windermere 

 Just a reminder if you want to sign up click on:

You can help us get the Government looking at organ donation by signing the epetition: 


  1. My husband had a transplant in 2007

    My blog is

    Idont update it very often now, as life is moving forward 'normally'. the transplant updates are in August June/july/august 2007

    Hope the call comes soon.