Donation in all forms is close to my heart (see what I did there?), not only because I received the incredible gift of life from an anonymous donor, but also because I am a donor myself.

I have been an advocate of organ, tissue and blood donation since I was in school. Growing up knowing that my life could quite possibly end today came with its challenges, but I always knew that when it was my time to go I would donate whatever could be used. So it was only natural that when I reached 18 I became a registered donor.

However it wasn’t until I got the call to go in for my heart and double lung transplant that I was able to donate. I said to my transplant team that if there was anything that could possibly be salvaged from my damaged heart and lungs to help someone else to please do what they needed.

After my successful transplant surgery my transplant team informed me that they managed to salvage not 1, but 2 valves from my damaged heart! I was thrilled to learn that 1 of the valves was given to a baby in another part of the country while the second went to the tissue bank of South Africa.

The knowledge that I had been able to help another human life truly amazed me and gave me a joy that I can never describe. As a living donor I was finally be able to help and be of use after years of feeling useless and helpless. It is something I will carry with me all my life.

So after being able to give, I received the most incredible gift. As a recipient I carry with me daily gratitude for the kindness of strangers and for the simple fact that I am actually alive. I believe that as the recipient of such an enormous gift, I owe it to my donor and her family to honour the gift I was given every day. I will not waste that gift I have been given. I will continue look after my health, I will continue to be an advocate for Donation, I will keep sharing my story to help others and I will always help those who are travelling a similar road.

There can be life after tragedy and death does not have to be meaningless. That is what donation is all about; it brings life and meaning in the darkest of times.

If you do decide to register today, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Don’t forget to tell your family of your wishes.

Become a donor here