Lucinda Parker Roberts
In 2017 my life was saved by a stranger through the miracle of organ donation after my liver was destroyed by an incurable autoimmune disease called autoimmune hepatitis type 2.
This wasn’t the first time I had come close to the edge, though. Depression and mental illness have been part of my battle and journey to survive after being given my life-altering diagnosis at 17.
A doctor told me I had an incurable disease that had caused stage 4 cirrhosis (end-stage liver disease). I would be on medication (including steroids) for the rest of my life. I would never be able to have children. I would never be able to get life insurance. I was told not to drink, and by 30, I would need a liver transplant, or I would die.
This diagnosis devastated me. The life I had planned out was now obsolete due to the medication I would be on. The chances of me having a family and an everyday life were gone. So as I left the hospital that day, I decided I would try never to have regrets. ‘Carpe Diem – Seize The Day – Live every day as if might be your last, became the force that kept me going through the years that followed.
The symptoms of the disease combined with the side effects of the medication led me to massive weight gain and the onset of anxiety and depression. As my liver was unsavable, I decided to embrace life and lived a rather hedonistic existence, not caring if I lived or died. I believed I was intrinsically worthless, broken and a failure.
I wasn’t worth saving, and so a transplant wouldn’t happen for me. I didn’t deserve one.
But by 15 years later, at the age of 32, I had started to change my mind, and I didn’t want to die. I realised that I shouldn’t have been told what I was, the way it was. I should have had support. Things could have been different. I wanted things to be different. I made a vow.
I will not stop until children grow up knowing about organ transplants, and organ donation is the norm, not out of a legal law, but out of choice.
“My life was saved by a young lady who died of brain stem death. I don’t know if she had chosen to be an organ donor or her family made that decision. But I have a rare blood type, and without their choice, I could quite easily be dead.
I can never thank her or them.
Instead, I will aim to help reduce the shortage of organs available by working to improve education.”
My first children’s book, available on the Kindle is called, ‘Lucy’s Liver Transplant – A Story About Organ Donation’ and is now in 8 languages.