IF ANYONE knows how precious life can be, it is double-lung transplant recipient Natalie Kerr.
The mother-of-two, who lives in Adlington but is originally from Bolton, had the life-changing operation in February, 2012, after suffering from pulmonary hypertension.
Before Miss Kerr had the transplant, she lived every day in fear of losing her battle with the condition and leaving behind her two young children Brandon, aged 11, and Isabelle, aged five.
But when she finally received that special phone call, she said it was “like winning the lottery”.
The former Royal Bolton Hospital nurse said: “Before I had the lung transplant, I was really poorly and I didn’t think I had long left to live.
“To be honest, I’d had enough of being ill. I was literally just getting out of my bed a couple of times a day because I was so exhausted — I just couldn’t breathe. I had no quality of life at all.
“I felt like I couldn’t be a proper mum to my children and I hated that they had to see me so poorly. I couldn’t even pick Isabelle up.
“I still remember the night I got the call. I knew it was them because no-one ever called me that late. When I answered and they said they had the lungs for me — it was like winning the lottery.
“The woman kept saying: ‘keep calm’, but I couldn’t help it.”
That call proved to be the starting point of a journey which was to transform Miss Kerr’s life.
All the arrangements were made and the transplant operation was carried out at Wythenshawe Hospital.
It saved Miss Kerr’s life, and now, she is a totally different woman, able to lead a normal life and to do the things with her children that she had always longed to.
“Now I’ve had the transplant, I just walk round with a smile on my face. It’s the simple things that I find amazing, like taking my kids to school or taking them to parties,” she said.
“Every day I am so grateful for what that person did for me. It’s not just my life that has been transformed, it’s my family’s too. I feel like I can be a proper mother.”
Miss Kerr has campaigned passionately to encourage more people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register since her life-changing operation and says she is determined to always “give something back”.
She added: “My illness taught me both how cruel and how precious life can be. I think it was so brave what that family did for me — it saved my life — which is why I am passionate about encouraging other people to sign up to the register.
“I can understand why some people may find it difficult to think about, but it takes five minutes to fill out the form.
“You just need to discuss your wishes with your family and then you never have to worry about it again. I can’t stress enough how important it is for people to sign that register.”