We seemed to get one wonderful opportunity after another and they just kept on coming. I enrolled on a writing course at the beginning of the year, so I could start writing my own articles for publication and one of my articles on my transplant was published in Cumbria magazine. I won a competition run by Woman and Home Magazine for writing a small article on 'Seizing the Day' and had a full style, makeover, photoshoot and interview published in the September issue of their magazine, plus a thousand pounds prize money for Papworth Hospital Charity. In October I was invited to speak at one of their reader events about my transplant and making the most of life. They were all interesting and new experiences to be part of and at the same time raise more awareness of organ donation and pulmonary hypertension to new audiences.
I had many small personal goals and dreams to work towards as I recovered including going for proper long walks once more. I set myself a challenge to walk around Tarn Hows in the Lake District in summer, but managed it in March. I wanted to get back in my kayak once more and managed this in June when I kayaked across Coniston Water once again, much to my delight. I travelled abroad once more, after nearly five years and went to Paris by Eurostar. After falling ill I had been deemed too unfit to fly and was unable to anyway being on the transplant list. I made my first flight abroad in October, just a short one to Amsterdam and this gave me confidence to make another dream come true and make a long haul flight to New York in December. It was wonderful to visit some new places.
Standing at the top of the Empire State Building at night time watching the lights of New York twinkling and fireworks going off over the Hudson River was a spectacular moment and more than a dream come true at the end of this year, but it still dazes me and fills me with awe when I walk around Tescos pushing a trolley and filling it with shopping. Extraordinary things and just ordinary things are equally amazing when you have a new chance of life. I had lost my independence and to have that back is a miracle.