Most of us would struggle to ride 100 miles with our own lungs
Pippa had a double lung transplant and is going to ride
between both hospitals which saved her life!
Three years ago, at the age of 27, I was on oxygen 24 hours a day. I couldn’t walk across a room and had been told serious consideration should be made in terms of my palliative care.
I was trapped in a hospital while we tried to keep me alive long enough for a surgery which might save my life.
Today though, instead, I am training to cycle 100km to raise both money for the two hospitals that saved my life and hopefully some awareness along the way.
My life was saved thanks to a lung transplant at Royal Papworth Hospital on the 14th April 2017, and due to the decision to say yes to organ donation from my donor and his family. Without this act none of this would be possible and I will be forever grateful for the extra time it has given me.
Having been born with Cystic Fibrosis the possibility of a double lung transplant was always something that I knew might be a possibility in my future. I was lucky to have a fairly normal childhood and even until my early 20’s my life, was only minimally impacted by the disease. Thoughts around these possible future needs wasn’t something I worried about much as I went on with life the best I could, while the visible signs of CF slowly started creeping into my normal. Sadly though in 2016 this quickly changed and due to how my illness progressed it became a reality and a necessity much faster than expected.
This type of surgery changes your whole life and I was determined to make the most of my second chance. I have worked hard to keep fit and try and stay healthy as well as make the most of the chances I have been given. Because of this, earlier this year I had the idea to set a challenge to mark my 3rd ‘Lungaversary’ – to cycle 100km in one day. Once the seed was planted, I wasn’t going to change my mind. I was lucky enough to be donated a bike for the ride from Townsends Light Blue Cycle Centre in Cambridge and so that was it…the challenge was set!
While for some a 100km cycle ride may not seem a huge feat, for me it is. After my transplant I had to regain all my muscle strength, I did weights with tins of beans and found that exhausting. I hadn’t been on a bike for years and certainly hadn’t cycled any distance ever.
The chosen route starts at Royal Papworth, the hospital that saved my life, and ends at The Brompton Hospital, who kept me alive long enough and cared for me prior to the surgery. The hope is that I will be joined by others, for either the full thing or parts of the ride, raising the greatest possible level of awareness as well as money for these two amazing hospitals.
I hope if people see, or join, the ride, we will demonstrate that transplants are not just life saving but life changing. In Spring 2020, the UK will change to an Opt Out system when it comes to Organ Donation. This in theory will help some of the thousands of people waiting on the lists for transplants, but even with this change family will be given the last word. It is because of this it is so important that people ensure they have shared their wishes with those closest to them. That way, if possible, in tragedy one person can save up to nine lives.
As the event draws closer, and my training kilometres increase, I am driven to show what I can and have achieved. Transplant saved my life and now I want to give back.