Miracle double-lung transplant mum Natalie Kerr is urging people to give the gift of life.
Natalie, 31, from Adlington, Chorley, had a successful transplant after being diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension.
But now the mum-of-two is issuing a New Year plea for other people to join the organ donor register, because she says so many people are dying waiting.
Natalie, who is mum to 11-year-old Brandon and five-year-old Isabelle, believes she is lucky and is the first to admit her story could have been so much different.
Her lungs were donated by a 52-year-old woman, who had never smoked and kept herself really fit.
Today she is urging people to sign up to the register.
She said: “It is really hard to put into words, until you are faced with something like this you don’t really know. It is hard to explain to people unless they are about to die and leave their children, they will never know how thankful I am.
“I am here and I am alive, every single day I am thankful that she gave me lungs, she is always in my thoughts.
“People who know me know how much I love Brandon and Isabelle, one Christmas I was writing letters goodbye and making plans to not be here.
“Now I am here I appreciate life so much.
“I wouldn’t be here if she hadn’t joined the transplant register.
“My aim is to live each day to the full, I want my life to be full of things.
Natalie is behind the idea that as a nation there is an opt-out donor list rather than an opt-in.
She said: “If you look at the NHS we all use the NHS, we have no problems about going getting treatment, I think it is a good way of giving something back.
“If everyone is in and you really really don’t want to go in you can opt out.
“Nobody wants to think about dying, alot of people don’t want to join because they don’t want to jynx themselves.
“People don’t want to talk about it and write it down.
“People are dying and their organs are going to waste while other people are dying waiting for organs.
“I was a normal person and the next minute I needed a pair of lungs or I was going to die.”
Natalie urged people to think about their own relatives, children and friends who may one day need a transplant.
She said: “If you are willing to accept an organ, you should be willing to give one.”
Natalie, a former Royal Bolton Hospital nurse, was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension while in labour with Isabelle.
The condition causes high pressure in the arteries of her lungs, and eventually leads to heart failure.
She was warned she would only live for three more years and she was later told her only hope was the double-lung transplant
She was put on the waiting list and faced a nervous wait for the same size organ donor with the same blood and tissue type to be able to undergo treatment.
A match was eventually found in February 2012 and she underwent an eight-hour operation at Manchester’s Wythenshaw Hospital.
Next year Natalie and her children will compete in the The British Transplant Games
The British Transplant Games are organised by Charity Transplant Sport and are one of the largest annual multi-sports events in the United Kingdom.
To find out how to become an organ donor or a blood donor, call 0300 123 23 23.
Alternatively you can visit the site blood.co.uk or uktransplant.org.uk.