Cambuslang woman backs donor appeal
A Cambuslang woman is fronting a campaign to encourage Scots to sign up to the NHS OrganDonor Register.
Samantha Bell had a heart transplant last autumn. Andshe wants to get peopletalking about organ donation so they can join the registerand let their loved ones knowtheir wishes.
Bank worker Sam, 29, from Drumsagard, was diagnosed with severe cardiomyopathyat the age of 22.
The condition meant her heart could have stopped atany time.
Sam was shocked at thediagnosis as she had no previoussymptoms and there wasno heart disease in her family. She said: “There had been nothing beforehand at all. The cardiologist had researchedthat over the seven years sincethe diagnosis and there’s noevidence of it. They are convinced it was viral cardiomyopathy.
“I tried to carry on as much as I could. I continued to work part-time and made adjustments to try and get on with things as well as I could do.”
After being diagnosed,Sam had a mini defibrillatorfitted in her chest. It worked like a pacemaker, helping to regulate her heartbeat and shocking her heart back to life if it stopped.
She said: “When doctors told me, I was really confused. I knew it was the best thing but nomatter how much information I had, I was still scared and didn’t know what to expect.
“When I got my defibrillator fitted, the surgeon mentioned if it didn’t work, the onlyother option would be a hearttransplant. But they were willing to try other options because of my age.
“The defibrillator wasthere as a back-up and would probably never need tobe used.”
After five years, Sam’scondition deteriorated andin 2010, her heart stopped while she was out fordinner with her boyfriendand his family.
Doctors said she needed to be assessed for a transplant.
She said: “I moved house to Cambuslang in July 2010 and it was very stressfuland maybe I was doing abit too much.
“My heart stopped in the middle of August, which was the turning point when we realised that things weredeteriorating pretty quickly.
“Doctors told me that the only option would be a heart transplant.
“As much as I was used to talking about my heart and medical conditions, I went to my appointment on my own.
“And when my cardiologistof five-and-a-half years said those two words, ‘hearttransplant’, I couldn’t take it in. That’s all I heard. Everything else was a blur.
“But having my family, friends and my partner Lee kept me positive.
“I asked lots of questions about transplants before I put my name on the list.
“The doctor said it wasentirely my decision.
“It was a strange time. As much as I’m a positive,optimistic person, at the same time, it was difficult.
“You need to be ill enoughfor a transplant but wellenough to survive theoperation and I knew myhealth was deteriorating.
“In February 2011, I went for the assessment to determineif I could be placed on thetransplant waiting list.
“They had to check that my other organs could withstand the operation.”
Sam is doing well following her transplant and she isproud to be part of the donor register campaign.
The TV and radiocampaign highlights howmore than 40 per cent ofScots have now joined theregister – the highestpercentage in the UK.
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