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Cornwall mum thanks stranger for organ donation

Cornwall mum thanks stranger for organ donation

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 2:28pm 4th December 2019.

A mum from Cornwall says she will be able to enjoy Christmas dinner for the first time in 13 years, thanks to an organ donation.

Nicola Hawkins, from Polgooth near St Austell, received a kidney transplant earlier this year thanks to an anonymous donor.

There are currently 48 people in Cornwall facing Christmas on the waiting list for an organ transplant. 

48-year-old Nicola waited 13 years for a second kidney transplant after her first one failed.

The mum, to 18-year-old Nadine, received a living donation from a stranger after a rare match was found.

organ donations - nicola hawkins
Nicola and her daughter Nadine

"I was on home dialysis and needled myself and spent four hours on my machine every other day. It was hard work but family and friends helped get me through. I worked throughout and sometimes it was really tiring.

"I had 100% antibodies and this made it difficult for me find a match. It affected my energy levels, my diet, how much I could drink. It caused secondary conditions such as high blood pressure and anaemia. I was never at full capacity and used to feel anxious about what my outcome would be.

"I had my transplant in May 2019, a date that will be etched into my mind forever. I will forever be grateful for the selfless, gift of life given to me by a person who was a complete stranger. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

"My donor was an anonymous altruistic donor, an amazing person, a real life changer and I don't have the words to thank them enough. I didn't believe the transplant nurse when I got the call. The chances were a million to one. In fact my donor is approximately one in 1.6 million donors for me!

"Six months on, I feel better, I have wee'd after thirteen years not being able to! I eat what I please and drink so much juice! I have got a new full-time job which I am enjoying immensely. Life is great! I have now started to look forward and feel ambitious again.

"Christmas in the past meant limiting vegetables and roast potatoes, taking phosphate binders with my meals, not able to join in with everything sociable in the season to be jolly! Most adults drink a great deal at Christmas, it can feel a bit much outside the lifestyle of a dialysis patient."

Nicola Hawkins

organ donations - nicola hawkins
Nicola say she is feeling fit and healthy six months on

More than 6,000 people across the UK, including over 180 children, are currently awaiting a life-saving gift.

Families in the Duchy are being urged to share their organ donation decision this festive season, so that their loved ones know what they want when they die and more patients can receive the transplants they need.

There are currently 6,186 patients in need of an organ transplant in the UK, and 185 of them are children.

"My daughter will be home from university for Christmas and I simply cannot wait to see her. A weight is lifted off Nadine's shoulders too and I feel she can go away without any worries about how my dialysis is going or what would happen if I was on my own and made a mistake dialysing.?

"I'll be looking forward to going on holiday in the new year - I can go on holiday without having to book dialysis at the overseas destination. Travel was possible, enjoying and worth it before, but it was also hard work and stressful at times. A transplant gives me my freedom and liberty back.

"My hope for 2020 is to make a success of my new job as a fundraising manager. Nadine has given me an enormous amount of support with dialysis, she is so kind and so loved. She is now 18 and reading psychology and criminology at Gloucestershire University and I couldn't be more proud.

"Organ donation saves lives and transforms lives, as a recipient twice over I will be forever grateful to my mum who gave me one of her kidneys when I was 21 and to my donor who gave me one of theirs whilst I'm 48 years of age."

Nicola Hawkins

It is quick and easy to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. Call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk

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