Wednesday, 14 September 2016
September has always been about new beginnings for me. I think it's the school year thing, developed from long, long ago during my own school years, built upon when my children went through their schooling and when I chose a career in teaching for many years. The excitement of a brand new start; the excitement of achieving and learning new things; the anticipation of how the year may turn out - the successes and failures to come and how the future might be shaped by them.
I can't help but think back to those years of teaching. Preparing during the summer break in readiness for a new class. The excitement of the first day back, hearing the excited chatter of the children in the playground waiting to start in their new class. A fresh start for us all.
Then September has always been a prominent time since my illness - September was the month I was referred to Papworth Hospital; the month I found out I was live on the transplant waiting list and the month I finally received my transplant, so September has well and truly and literally become my month of new beginnings.
It's been quite poignant for me, therefore, that September is the month that Organ Donation Week is held by NHSBT and this year's campaign theme has been 'Turn an end into a beginning', which truly resonates for me. I've always believed that an end to something is a new beginning to something else. New beginnings is a strong theme which runs through my book 'Life is for the Living', deliberately so, as I believe organ donation is all about new beginnings.
I always hoped and believed that some kind stranger somewhere would give me another new beginning to what was looking like my very end. I always believed it would happen and I would be able to make that brand new start and pave myself a new way in life.
I hope Organ Donation Week has been a successful week and that many more have signed up to the organ donor register. Three people still die each day while waiting for a transplant. That figure doesn't seem to ever change although the majority of people say they believe in organ donation, yet only about a third of the UK population have signed up. One of the biggest hurdles is family consent as many families are unaware of what their loved ones wishes are. It is so important to simply have a discussion with your loved ones about organ donation. An organ donation is more likely to go ahead if a potential donor's loved ones know their wishes.
It is great we have a special week for organ donation, but in reality we need to keep on working hard to raise awareness about the benefits of organ donation the whole year round. I know only too well what a new beginning an organ donation can bring, how it transforms a life and the lives of the recipient's family and friends. I will be forever in debt to my donor and their family for my new beginning and forever grateful.
This September has started off sunny and warm and the weather is turning hotter and hotter this week. The weather is often beautiful and sunny in September somehow like a signal for brighter and better things to come in the following year.
Here's to September and new beginnings and wishing everyone who is patiently waiting on the transplant list their very own new beginning very soon.
This week's photos were taken in Mersea Island, Essex