Phew, what a bloody roller coaster ride of emotions this month’s meeting was! Our wonderful speaker made us laugh, she made us cry: mainly however she made herself cry. It was the incredibly inspiring Alexandra Sullivan who gave us a great speech on organ donation. Alexandra is an advocate for Live Life Give Life which is a fantastic charity which tries to raise awareness of organ donation.
Alexandra spoke about her own life as an organ recipient, she was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver at the age of two which is the scarring of the liver causing long term damage preventing the liver from working properly. At the age of eight she received her first liver transplant which gave her four years of life before her body began rejecting the organ. At thirteen she was put on the emergency transplant list which is for those presumed to have only 24 to 48 hours left to live. She got the call for her emergency transplant in the early hours of the morning on her father’s birthday and was rushed to hospital. With tears in his eyes her father spoke to her outside the operating theatre, not knowing whether this would be the last time he would see her alive (apparently she took the piss out of him for crying so I guess she really ruined that moment).
On the 6th January 2015 Alexandra celebrated an incredible 21 years since her first transplant. In that time she has got married, had a little boy, celebrated her 30th birthday, learnt to ski, been matron of honour at her best friend’s wedding, opened her own beauty salon, become an Auntie, been in Cosmopolitan magazine – naked, been in a charity calendar – naked, been in German Closer magazine – also naked, run a marathon and only gone and been on Come Dine with Me! She has so much more to achieve: so many more publications to appear naked in!
What Alexandra would like everyone to remember is that these achievements are due to two incredible people who sadly passed away, people whose families’ decided in the toughest hour of their lives – which must have torn them to pieces – to save Alexandra’s life.
Alexandra wants to get as many people to sign the organ donation register as possible and to make sure that if you are on the organ donation register, your family know that this is what you want, so the choice is so much easier for them if it ever needs to be made. Three people die each and every day waiting for an organ. If you want to give other people the chance to survive then sign up now. Don’t put it on your to-do list or say you’ll do it in five minutes: do it now. You never know but signing up now – today – might just have saved someone’s life.
Blog by Jodie Major for Shoreditch Sisters WI