A Cumbernauld woman’s gratitude to the stranger who saved her life

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A woman from Kildrum hopes to inspire more people from this area sign up as organ donors.

The life of Sheila McQueen (52), was transformed when she got a kidney and pancreas transplant in November 2013, after years of illness caused by diabetes, which she had been diagnosed with at the age of 25.

For years self treatment with insulin was enough to manage the condition.

But in 2011 her kidneys failed and Sheila had to begin dialysis treatment, while being placed on the transplant waiting list.

Sheila said: “Being on dialysis was really tough. I was constantly tired and doing the smallest of things was a huge effort for me. I even struggled to walk at times.

“I was going into hospital three times a week for dialysis for four hours at a time. I had to stop working because the hours didn’t fit round my hospital visits and I just felt so drained all the time.”

In November 2013, Sheila received the important call she’d been waiting for.

She said: “I was at home when I got the call to say there was potentially a suitable match for me and was told to make my way straight to the hospital. I didn’t want to get too excited as this was the fourth time I’d been called.”

However, this time, Sheila’s transplant successfully went ahead.

Sheila said: “When I came round I instantly felt so much better than before. I really noticed a difference in myself.

“I didn’t have the easiest recovery as I caught pneumonia shortly after my transplant, so it took me a long time to get back to full health, but it was completely worth it to be able to lead a normal life again.

“The difference between my life now and when I was on dialysis is like night and day. My diabetes has been completely cured and I have so much energy. My whole life has changed for the better.

“Every day feels like a gift. I know that for me to have been given this second chance at life, someone’s family members had to make that difficult decision at what must have been a dreadful time for them.

“I can’t even put it into words how grateful I am to my donor.

“I’d encourage anyone who might have been thinking about it but hasn’t got round to it yet to join the NHS Organ Donor Register, and those who have already joined to tell their family members.

“It might not be the easiest conversation to have, but it’s so important to share your wishes.

“If it wasn’t for my donor, and the family who honoured their decision, I might not be here today.”