'We have received the most amazing gift anyone could ever give'

These are the words of Kim Fairman who knows first-hand what it's like to be given the chance of a new beginning.

Kim Fairman with her daughter Maddison

Kim, who is from Crawley, was first diagnosed with liver disease she was 18 after being ill for two years with gallstones.

In 2010, her younger brother died from a rare genetic liver disease called MDR3 deficiency while waiting for a transplant. Kim was diagnosed with having the same disease and a decision was made that she needed to have a transplant and was added to the waiting list in July 2012. Kim’s condition deteriorated in December 2012 and she was placed on to the super urgent waiting list. She feared she would not even survive until Christmas day and spent most of the day sleeping. Kim received her liver transplant in January 2013 and it transformed her life. Before her transplant she didn’t even have the energy to make cakes with her daughter. Now she can go swimming with her, teach her to play tennis and more.

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Kim said: “My daughter wrote a piece of work at school that said ‘the day mummy had her transplant was a life changing moment. I was scared and really happy at the same time’.

We have received the most amazing gift anyone could ever give. While they were suffering the loss of someone they loved so dearly, they somehow found the strength to donate their organs and allow a stranger a second chance at life.”

According to the NHS Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report 2018/19, more people than ever before across the UK donated their organs after their deaths last year. In West Sussex, 13 people gave the gift of life, by donating their organs after death.

Nationally, there was a record number of organ donors, with 1,600 people saving lives through deceased organ donation over the last year.

However, the report also shows that across the UK, fewer people died in circumstances where they were able to donate their organs – 225 fewer than in 2017/18. The NHS says it is more important than ever that every person who wants and is able to donate their organs after death, is given the opportunity. Sadly, in West Sussex in the last five years, 30 people died before they received the organ they desperately needed. From next spring, all adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups. Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We’re incredibly grateful to all the courageous donors and their families across the country, who helped us to save so many lives last year. Organ donation is the only hope for many desperately ill people. We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to let their final act to be saving lives through organ donation. No lifesaving transplant would be possible without the generosity of every donor and their families, who give their support and say ‘yes’ to organ donation. There are 55 people in West Sussex waiting for a transplant now. Their only hope for a new life is that a family in their time of grief will make the wonderful decision to agree to organ donation.With the law around organ donation changing in England from next spring, we urge everyone to find out about the choices available to them, make their decision and share it with their family.”

If you would like to help others after your death tell your family you want to be an organ donor and join the NHS Organ Donor Register. It’s your choice whether or not you want to donate your organs. Please register your decision by visiting NHS Organ Donor Register and ensure you tell your family: www.organdonation.nhs.uk