Transplant success raises thousands
On the eve of the first anniversary of the operation that changed her life, a central Somerset transplantee has handed over thousands of pounds to groups who did so much to help her.
Jacqui Hill, of the Boardwalk, Street, received a double organ transplant last November, the end of more than a quarter-of-a-century battle with diabetes and dialysis.
In the year leading to the transplant the 44-year-old had a lower leg amputation and a quadruple heart bypass as the effects of her diabetes took its toll.
But thanks to the anonymous donation of a kidney and a pancreas – from a man in his 40s who had suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage – Jacqui's life has turned around.
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Jacqui has put her difficulties behind her to live life to the full.
This summer she went on her first holiday with husband Chris, canoeing down the Dordogne, and she prepared for a challenge of a lifetime – a trek up Glastonbury Tor.
At the time she said she wanted to raise as much money as she could for four very worthy causes that had done so much to help her including research into organ transplantation, Exeter Mobility Centre, the Dialysis Unit at Taunton and for diabetes care at Musgrove Park Hospital.
"I didn't really know how much I would raise, I just wanted to do what I could," she said.
"But people were very kind and friends helped with sponsor forms.
"In fact people's generosity was totally beyond my expectations and I raised £4,500 and last week delivered cheques for £1,125 to each of the charities.
"I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone, all those who gave so much at what is a very difficult time for a lot of people."
Jacqui said one of the most poignant of her presentations was to the dialysis unit at Taunton which up until a year ago she was going for treatment three times a week.
"I saw a few friends that I haven't seen for a while and I found it very sad seeing how the health of a few of them had deteriorated in that time," she said.
"I thank my lucky stars every day but it brought home to me again just how lucky I am to have had this transplant.
"And now I'm almost a year on.
"I would urge everyone to consider joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and talk to their loved ones about their wishes."
You can join the NHS Organ Donor Register in several ways including by filling in a form online at https://www.organdona tion.nhs.uk/ukt/how_to_be come_a_donor/registration/ registration_form.asp.
Call the NHS Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 (Lines are open 24 hours a day all year round. Calls are charged at your contracted rate for local calls)
By texting SAVE to 84118
You can also join when you are registering for a driving licence, applying for a Boots Advantage card, registering at a GP surgery, registering for a European Health Insurance card (EHIC) or by picking up a leaflet displayed in GP surgeries, libraries and many hospitals and pharmacies.