I haven't know what to write in this post and have been busy with Uni work so unable to give it the proper time and thought it deserved. Jessica Wales was 20 years old, had Cystic Fibrosis and like me waiting for a double lung transplant to save her life. You can read her story here on the website of the transplant charity we both worked for. Jess had been waiting for nearly 4 and a half years for transplant, a shocking amount of time to have waited and an incredible amount of time to have managed to keep her body fighting. Before Christmas Jessica was very ill, she spent Christmas day in hospital and friends reported that they had never seen someone fighting as hard as she was. Then, a miracle happened, in literally the 11th hour ( I won't go into details but it could not have been any closer) Jess got that call she had waited so long for, lungs had become availiable. she had nothing to lose and despite her fragile condition, she was blue lighted to Harefield and later that night recieved the chance at life she so deserved. No one could believe how things had worked out, it was a miracle pure and simple.
I wish I could end this post here but unfortunately thats not the end of the story. Jess was recovering well from the operation and once again defying the doctors odds, being taken off the ventilator and able to take those first magical breaths. Devastatingly, just a few days later Jess's condition detriorated and she died peacefully with her family by her side. The transplant and CF communities were rocked by this terrible news, and no one could believe how the fairytale ending had gone so wrong. It seems so unfair that Jess didn't get to live her life after everything she had faced so bravely.
Jess should never have had to wait so long for her transplant, and if more people had signed up to the register this story could have had a very different ending. The strain of so many years waiting had proved to much for Jess's body, she just couldnt recover from such a huge operation. If she had got that call sooner it would have been different.
I wasn't a close friend of Jess's, but I obviously followed her story avidly as it was so close to my own. The transplant community is very close and we spoke occassionally but were always supportive of each other and rooting for good news. Despite not being that close I know that Jess was a remarkable young woman, always caring for other despite her own problems, incredibly strong, brave, and a firece campaigner for organ donation. She was loved by all and touched so many lives in her 20 years.
I am heartbroken that she never got the chance she so desperately deserved. I know how hard the fight is and to manage to struggle to keep going for over 4 years is just an amazing feat and testament to what an amazing lady she was. I promise to keep campaigning for donors like she did and will try to battle on with as much grace as she did, living life because I am still here to do so.
I have always know the call may not come in time for me, but I've never quite believed it fully until the last week. I get a gripping in the pit of my stomach when I realise that no matter what you do, how hard you fight, sometimes it just isn't enough. I am gutted for Jess and for her family who I think of lots.
Jess you were one in a million, breathe easy now. You will never be forgotten x