Life Stories

A new liver in time for a new daughter!

I am currently 30 years old and have lived all my life with BA.  in July 2016 I developed liver failure and spent 14 days in a coma; I almost died.  I was told I needed a new liver and was placed on the transplant waiting list.  It was hard having my life on hold, unable to plan ahead and go on holidays, not knowing if I would be at a friend’s wedding - things other people my age take for granted as I awaited that all-important phonecall.

I was determined to make the most of my situation.  My wife and I continued building our new house and were also expecting our first child.  That made it even more important to get the transplant so that my health could improve and I could plan for the future. 

Until you are on an organ donation waiting list it is difficult to fully understand the pressures and worries you face on a daily basis, as well as the highs and lows you are forced to deal with.  I looked forward to the day where I would no longer require weekly check-ups and hospital tests.  I decided it was important to stay positive.

After joining the transplant waiting list I talked about my situation more and encouraged others to become organ donors.  It surprised me how little people knew about organ donation; I was often asked: “Have you been given a date for your operation?” and “How do you become an organ donor”  I hope that my story will encourage people to sign the organ donation register.

I had my liver transplant on 20th July 2017 at Kings College Hospital London.  At the time of writing this it is only eight weeks since my transplant and I am still on the road to recovery – but I feel great and it has been a success.  I am extremely grateful to the medical team at KCL who looked after me and also The Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast who carried out the transplant.

Our baby girl arrived four weeks after I had my transplant.  Things have been very busy - and difficult at times - but I have been greatly helped by the support of family, friends and work colleagues.

All this has, of course, only been made possible by the selfless act of my donor and their family, who made the decision to donate their loved one’s organs at a very difficult time in their lives.  For this I am extremely grateful.  A mere thank you will never be enough.

Christopher McKernan