I was born in 1973 with Cystic Fibrosis, an inherited genetic condition, which greatly reduced my life expectancy. I know that I am one of the fortunate ones to make it this far. This is thanks to the life saving double lung transplant I received in August 2018. This is my transplant journey.

I was in and out of hospital for weeks on end with serious chest infections. My lung function had dropped to a meagre 21% and I needed supplementary oxygen to survive. My health was deteriorating rapidly. Everything had become a challenge. I was put on the lung transplant list.

There is a lot of fear and worry surrounding the whole transplant procedure, which is fully understandable. At the time I remember being frightened, but I didn’t have any options left. I had to go for it. I was on the waiting list for only six weeks when I got the call. Some people can be on the list for years and others sadly don’t get a match at all.

On this occasion the donor lungs were not right, but then four days later on August 6 2018 the call came again. This time it was all systems go and I was taken to theatre for the op. When I came round, the team at Harefield Hospital said my surgery was a textbook success, this sounded promising.  

Four weeks later, with a list of do’s and don’ts and a trolley load of medication I was discharged. It felt daunting not being in hospital, especially as I live so far away on the Isle of Wight, but also great that I had made it through. 

My recovery from the operation was fairly quick, however I had many complications and hospitalisations while adjusting to my new medications. It took me about two years to fully stabilise. It was a difficult time, but it was definitely worth it in the end. When I am walking on the hills around my house, I often reflect on how my breathing was before my transplant and it brings a tear to my eye. I definitely appreciate life. 

Sadly, my recovery was perfectly timed with the onset of this dreadful Covid pandemic. The virus seemed to be tailored specifically to threaten my conditions, putting me in the extremely vulnerable group. I was just about ready to embrace life with both hands again when I was forced into shielding and not allowed to leave my house for many months. I was like a child at Christmas not being able to play with his new toys.

I feel so very lucky and blessed to have been given this opportunity. I try to make every moment count as I know many people aren’t as lucky as me. Sometimes, I feel I push myself even further than if I was a regular able bodied person; maybe too far. I want to make the most of the gift I was given to honour my donor and their family.

I cannot thank Southampton General CF unit and Harefield Hospital enough for their continuous excellent level of care and for making this all possible. They are both great teams that have always been there for me and many others like me.

While I'm feeling good, I thought I would get out and about. Get some fresh air in my new puffers and attempt to walk the South Downs Way, a 100 mile trail from Winchester to Eastbourne over Easter, in aid of Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity. 

Through my adventure, I hope to inspire people on the transplant waiting list and those who are unsure whether to go on the list by showing them what can be possible post transplant.

You can support Grant’s mission to give people a chance to live their best lives by donating to his fundraiser.

Donate to Grant's challenge