Kidney transplant patient Lorraine Pooley is determined to help others after receiving the gift of life.
The 53-year-old has become a dedicated campaigner for renal patients and has spent much of her time this year raising awareness.
She campaigned during the British Transplant Games, spoke as part of the National Kidney Conference 2014 and has even been to Westminster with fellow patients, donors and carers.
Lorraine, of Chapel Street, Brinscall, said: “Organ donation has allowed me to have a voice this year.”
Lorraine was in renal failure due to polycystic kidney disease, a life-threatening hereditary condition that led to the death of her father, aged just 36, and other close relatives.
The condition caused so much fluid to build up in her body that Lorraine says she spent years looking as if they were pregnant.
She was given medication but in 2010, doctors told her they would have to remove one or both of her kidneys.
A kidney was removed and she had dialysis until a transplant was carried out using a kidney from her youngest sister, Melissa Wilding, on February 14, 2013.
The operation went well and Lorraine’s health improved, although she does still have the disease and complications.
Lorraine said: “Having the transplant from my sister has given me a better quality of life and it has enabled me, more than anything, to use my voice to help others in the same situation. However, my polycystic kidney disease is still there. It will always be that way.”
Exactly a year after the transplant, Lorraine held a party at Brinscall Athletics Club to celebrate the anniversary and support fund-raising appeal Kidneys For Life.
Among the guests were her family, her surgeon and friends made in hospital.
Since then, Lorraine has been committed to raising awareness of kidney disease and organ donation.
It has been a busy year for Lorraine. She raised more money for Kidneys For Life when she was involved in organising a joint fund-raiser at the Rose And Crown pub in Chorley town centre.
In July during National Transplant Week, she urged people to tell their families if they wish to become organ donors, so they would be aware when they died.
Lorraine was went to Westminster with the British Kidney Patient Association to talk to a group of MPs about organ donation and calls for an “opt out” system.
She said: “It was great going there. I had a wonderful time. I met patients from all over the country– some were on dialysis, some had transplants, some were donors.”
In August, Lorraine gave her support to the British Transplant Games in Bolton.
Representing Kidneys For Life, she helped with painting, drawing, a bouncy castle and loom bands for young transplantees and their siblings.
Lorraine said: “Spending the afternoon with those 40 children will stay with me forever.
“I deny anyone meeting these young, spirited, lovely, brave youngsters talking like me about their journeys not to sign the register.”
Lorraine, who is known as Purple Chick, is regularly on social media, with nearly 1,500 followers on Twitter.