More Organ Donors Needed

Kirstie Tancock was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a progressive lung disease.

She had been in and out of hospital all her life with frequent chest infections but it was as she reached her late teens that she started to experience a rapid decline in lung function and mobility. Up until then, Kirstie had managed to complete school, study performing arts and arts management, qualify as a fitness pole dancing instructor and run a successful business.

In March of 2011 Kirstie attended Harefield hospital for transplant assessment. Her lung function at the time was just on the cusp of transplant criteria; thankfully the decision was made to put her on the active waiting list for new lungs.

In May Kirstie was struggling even more, and finding the four metres from her bed to the bathroom difficult. Kirstie's CF consultant told her then that if she continued at this rate of decline, she had just six months to live. It turned out six months would be an optimistic prediction. Kirstie was devastated; she was getting married and was terrified it would not mark the start of their lives together, but instead be a goodbye.

Two weeks after her wedding Kirstie was rushed back in and given a choice; to stay at Exeter and be made comfortable or to be airlifted to Harefield and receive invasive treatment to keep her alive for as long as possible. 

Kirstie was airlifted to Harefield and placed on a machine called ECMO which removes the blood from the body, extracts the carbon dioxide, oxygenates it, and pumps it back round, essentially doing the job of her heart and lungs. Kirstie spent a week and a half on ECMO until, when she was literally on death's door, a donor was found.

LISTEN HERE: Kirstie's story

Kirstie's spoken out as she tries to raise awareness of the desperate need for more people to sign on the organ donar register.

She's also hosting a ball on the 14th July at the Rougemount Thistle in Exeter to raise money for her chosen charity you can find out more about it here