A LUNG transplant patient has been describing his precious ‘gift of life’.
Speaking ahead of National Transplant Week, Cinnamon Brow dad Bob Fricker, aged 62, is now a picture of health following his transplant in October last year.
It is a far cry from days where he describes taking 10 minutes to climb the stairs and finding simple tasks including getting dressed or brushing teeth a struggle after being diagnosed with chronic lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in 2009.
Bob, who has four daughters, said: “You sit down to conserve energy and I started putting on weight and got fat, lazy and even more breathless.
“At the time I didn’t take any notice of my diagnosis but it’s a condition that gets progressively worse and then I was told I would need a lung transplant and panic set in.”
After losing enough weight to ensure he could be put on the transplant list, Bob waited just three weeks before a match was found.
He added: “I got a call and before I knew it I was in Wythenshawe Hospital with a match.
“I think if I had chance to think about it I would have gone to pieces.
“I lost around four days of my life unconscious in ICU but then after just over three weeks I was allowed home in time for Christmas.
“The staff at Wythenshawe were brilliant and I’ve named my lung Lumi after one of the ICU nurses.”
The transplant meant former smoker Bob’s life has been transformed and he can now return to drumming and plays with the band Squirrel Kickers.
Patients are not told their donors’ names but Bob, who has been with partner Carol for 14 years, and his eldest daughter have both written to the family to thank them which moved Bob to tears.
He added: “This has given me the chance to enjoy my family and the simple things in life.
“If an organ can be donated it’s like giving the person an after life.
“I want to respect my donor and look after my gift and enjoy life.”
THE race to match an organ with a patient is a team effort with only a four window for a heart transplant or 24 hours for a kidney.
The process starts with family or staff making the patient’s wishes known before consent has to be taken from the family and then patient assessments and information gathered from their GP.
Paula Rae, specialist nurse organ donation, added: “We would encourage people who sign up to the organ donor register to have a discussion with the family so they know what their wishes are.
“Organ donation is often the only positive thing you can offer a family as you can’t change what has happened to your loved on.”
Jerome McCann, consultant and clinical lead for organ donation, said the problem is supply and demand and demand for organs never stops.
He added: “I think everybody would say yes if they had more time to think about it and that’s where people like Paula and her team come in.”
Bob will be joining hospital staff outside the Halliwell Jones stadium ahead of Warrington’s game against Leeds during National Transplant Week.