Life Stories

Julie's Family

It’s hard to say where my story begins.  My life is a web of transplant experiences involving my brother and my son, so I can’t tell my story without including them both.  They are so intertwined and one impacts heavily on the other.

Approximately 50 years ago my brother was born with a hole in his heart.  After 20 years of poor health he was reborn; he received the gift of life - a heart and lung transplant.

Eleven years ago, I was able to pass that gift to other families in the form of the parts that my son, James, no longer needed.  James died whilst playing football, surrounded by all his friends.  Unfortunately, he was unable to give his major organs, but those suitable - the corneas in his blue-grey eyes, the long bones in his upper legs and skin from his back - were used to improve the life of those in need.

I had no hesitation in expressing my transplant views to the doctors dealing with James.  I did not want his premature end to finish.  I had the gift of a brother and felt I could give something back in the form of James.  I don’t know if I would have felt differently if my brother had not received such a generous gift ...  I will never know.

Technology is moving on; maybe in the future transplants won't be necessary.  Hearts might be repaired and artificial body parts custom-made - but maybe people will still need the real thing.

Live Life, Give Life.

Julie Gilby