Organ donation is the ultimate gift you can give someone else.
Whether it is a living donation or an autopsy donation, the effect is the same: a person doomed to die prematurely is given a second chance at a long, healthy life. Gareth Weeks, from Fife, Scotland, recently shared two photos showing how dramatically organ donation can change lives.
“Organ donation really saves lives!” he wrote on Twitter along with photos of himself and his 6-year-old daughter Zara side by side.
The photo on the left was taken on May 11, 2022, before receiving his life-changing donation. His skin is noticeably yellow from jaundice and his abdomen appears to be bloated. The photo on the right was taken just six weeks after his liver transplant and the change is evident. Gareth is radiant and happy, his skin has returned to a normal tone and the light has returned to his eyes.
“Please speak up and share your wishes with loved ones,” he continued.
Gareth’s liver problems began six years ago when he was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an incurable chronic liver disease. Back then, he always felt exhausted even when he got enough sleep, but he attributed it to an infant at home. He suffered from abdominal pain and cramps, lower back pain and jaundice. After extensive testing, he finally received the diagnosis that changed his world.
“I had no idea what it was,” he said.
PSC occurs when the bile ducts in the liver become blocked, allowing bile to build up in the liver and cause damage. If left alone, bile stasis can lead to cancer. Gareth went home and googled the disease. When he learned that people with PSC only have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, he knew he needed to be put on the organ transplant list immediately.
“Over the next few months, I tried to come to terms with a chronic illness, but it was weird because physically, apart from being tired, I felt fine,” he said.
Gareth became very ill in 2021 and his doctors put him on the transplant list in September. For the next seven long months he waited for the call that would restore his health. Finally, on May 16th, the call came – a liver was available, and it fit!
“After the surgeon gave the green light, the next thing I remember waking up the next day at 8:30 a.m. in the ICU with a breathing tube down my throat,” Gareth said.
He was discharged from the hospital just two weeks after his transplant. His liver function is back to normal for the first time in six years and he is incredibly grateful for the donor who gave him the ultimate gift.
“But because of the generosity of my donor and his family, I’m looking forward to my future again,” he said. “I want to go back home for a holiday in South Africa, finally use the bike I bought a few years ago and start playing golf again.”
Gareth hopes his photos will inspire others to become organ donors. He calls his donor “a true hero,” and he’s determined to live life to the fullest now that he has a fresh start!
do not forget it Split this story to spread Gareth’s message even further.
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