Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Magic

Jess and Natalie Imbruglia at Save Jess-tival

Jess's Magical Grotto

On Boxing Day, I blogged how I amazing our first healthy Christmas has been and how I hoped those friends I have who are waiting for their transplants can experience the same next year. My Christmas wish was for them to get their call, not least Jess, the inspiration behind the savejess campaign. I saw Jess on Monday when myself and some of her other friends went into her room at Kings Hospital, London ahead of her on an emergency transfer to transform the room we all feared she would spend her last Christmas into a magical grotto. I have never seen anyone fight for their life so hard. Both Emily (the friend I was with) and I went away feeling we had seen her for the last time. We all hoped a little of the magic would be real enough for her to get the only Christmas present she wanted this year, a pair of new lungs and a chance to see in the New Year.

Jess is an incredible fighter and, over Christmas, although on a non-invasive ventilator 24 hours and day and very unwell, she seemed to be regaining a little strength. Therefore, I was surprised and upset when Emily called me yesterday to tell me Jess had taken a big turn for the worse and that we needed to prepare ourselves for the very strong possibility she wasn't going to make it through the night. At around midnight this morning, I received a text from Jess's Mum and hardly dared to open it. It said one sentence "Jess is having her transplant NOW". I had to read it several times. Right at the very 11th hour, someone somewhere had said thought about someone else at a time of immense tragedy and said yes to donating their loved one's organs. Although she was very ill and very close to death, Jess's team allowed her to travel to the hospital where the transplant would take place, knowing that there was absolutely nothing to lose. Jess has had 9 false alarms and, should this prove to be another one, the stress of the journey could have been too much for her but there was the chance this was the real thing. And it was! Once the news went out that Jess really was now so very very ill, we had all been praying really hard and sending positive vibes that Jess's call would come. She had fought so hard for so long, it couldn't just end this way. It really wasn't fair. Those prayers and vibes were being sent out all over the country and my facebook homepage had nothing else one it.

Prayers are answered, wishes can come true, miracles can happen, maybe there really was some magic in that room because, just hours after it looked like it was too late for Jess, the call came. The nature of Jess's call reminded me very much of William's call, that also came when he was experiencing a medical drama with his own damaged bowel (you can read about that in my blog entries from November 20th 2008). Readers who have followed our story will know that we had a real bumpy ride of a recovery with Wills after his transplant. I called it a game of snakes and ladders and I know Jess and her family are just on their first square. But like I said for us, they are on the board at last and the final square is there waiting for them. My thoughts and prayers are with them all, as well as with the wonderful donor family who made it possible for them to rejoin the game of life. My thoughts are also with those who are still waiting for their chance to play.

Please, if you are not already, do think about joining the organ donor register. Organ donation saves lives. Please call 0300 123 23 23 now or visit

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