This gorgeous little baby is called Poppy. She's the daughter of one of my oldest and very best friends - and this is her surrounded by gifts on her first ever Christmas.
This Christmas there were thousands and thousands of families celebrating baby's first Christmas - but the fact that Poppy got to celebrate hers with her family is miraculous.
When Poppy was born in May 2011 nobody knew that she was going to be born very, very poorly. Like all families about to welcome a new baby, Poppy's expected her to be well, and everything to be straightforward - but a very poorly baby arrived. Poppy had a very rare benign tumour - mesenchymal haematoma - on her liver.
This is Poppy when she was just a few days old.
At just three weeks old little Poppy had the tumour resected. The tumour weighed 2lb2oz. Everyone prayed very hard that the remaining part of her liver would heal and be strong enough to function properly and keep Poppy alive - but it wasn't strong enough. Very soon afterwards Poppy went into liver failure, and was put on the super urgent transplant list.
Here Poppy is just after the tumour resection, with very poor function in her remaining liver.
Finding a donor for anyone waiting for a transplant is hard - finding one at desperately short notice is almost impossible. So few people are registered - just 29% of the UK population. Twenty nine per cent. That's such a small figure.
Because the availability of donor organs is limited three people a day die, who could have been saved if more people registered.
Poppy was one of the lucky ones and all our prayers were answered on 30 June 2011 - after just 4 days on the super urgent list. The miraculous gift that someone gave meant that what could have been simply a tragedy led to new life - a long, healthy, gift of a life.
The first week of July 2011 Poppy, thanks to the incredible gift a donor gave, was pink, with a functioning liver, for the first time in her life. Thanks to one person signing onto the donor register Poppy and her family got to spend Christmas together this year - and will be able to do so next year, and the year after, and the year after that.
Here are some more facts you might find interesting.
In the UK between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2011:
- 3,740 organ transplants were carried out, thanks to the generosity of 2,055 donors.
- 1,008 lives were saved in the UK through a heart, lung, liver or combined heart/lungs, liver/kidney, liver/pancreas or heart/kidney transplant.
- 2,732 patients' lives were dramatically improved by a kidney or pancreas transplant, 156 of whom received a combined kidney/pancreas transplant.
- A further 3,564 people had their sight restored through a cornea transplant.
- A record number of 567 non-heartbeating donor kidney transplants took place and accounted for one in five of all kidney transplants.
- 1,045 living donor kidney transplants were carried out accounting for more than a third of all kidney transplants. 'Non-directed' living donor transplants (also known as altruistic donor transplants) and paired and pooled donations contributed more than 60 kidney transplants between them.
- Almost 675,000 more people pledged to help others after their death by registering their wishes on the NHS Organ Donor Register, bringing the total to 17,751,795 (March 2011).
I registered to be a donor when I was 16. When we met, my husband wasn't registered and he registered after I begged him to. Both of my sons are registered. I pray every day that they won't die - but I know that I would find some comfort knowing that if I had to lose them, another family wouldn't have to lose their loved one too. I know that if I die in an accident that someone else will be able to take their loved one home for another Christmas - maybe even a first Christmas.
Look at Poppy - she is a happy, beautiful, cuddly baby girl. Thanks to a donor. If that person hadn't registered Poppy's family would have lost her.
Would you take an organ? If your child was fighting a serious illness and needed a transplant to survive, would you take it?
If you would take an organ, for yourself or for your babies, please - I'm genuinely begging now - please register. For Poppy. For your babies. For those people out there who are praying at their babies bedsides. It truly is the greatest gift that you can give.
This is Poppy now - showing off the scar that proves what an incredible little fighter she is.
This is Sophie. She's Poppy's Mummy. She is one of the most wonderful people I've ever known - she is an incredible mother, a great friend and brings happiness and laughter everywhere she goes. That there is Steve - Poppy's Daddy. He is a brilliant, funny, gentle man. They are both good people who had a terrifying, difficult year and they, with Poppy and their son Hayden, are a wonderful family.
Thanks to the donor they can BE a wonderful family. Thanks to the donor they can look forward to a much happier and less scary 2012 - and future.
Sophie is promoting the Operation Chip-BE campaign and in her honour, in Poppy's honour, so are we. Please read, please promote, please tweet, blog, put it on your facebook page - anything you can do to raise awareness.