“I’m living proof that miracles do happen,” says Susan Scott.
Susan has been given a second chance at life, thanks to a woman she has never met.
This time last year, the Fulwell grandmother had fallen desperately ill before being diagnosed with primary biliary cirrhosis.
Put under the care of specialists at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, the 59-year-old’s world was turned upside down when she was told she would need a liver transplant.
Today, one year on, Susan is recovering from surgery after medics spent eight hours giving her a new organ.
As she rebuilds her strength, Susan recalled the moment she got the call saying a donor had been found.
“It was 9pm on Thursday, July 25. I had gone to lie down, and the phone started ringing.
“I picked it up, and they told me an organ had been found, and I needed to come in straight away.
“I was anxious. I was scared. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Packing her bags, Susan, a ward clerk at Monkwearmouth Hospital, headed to hospital with husband Ken, 67.
She said: “We got there, and they kept saying there is a potential donor because tests need to be done to make sure you’re compatible.”
The next day at 10am, Susan was taken into an operating theatre after the tests proved a match.
“I just remember saying to the surgeon ‘please look after me. I want to wake up again”.”
The next thing the mum of two remembers is the surgeon whispering in her ear “Mrs Scott, your transplant has been a success”.
“I then slept for about two days,” she recalls. “In total, I was in hospital for two weeks and four days.”
Despite a few setbacks, Susan is now well on the road to a full recovery and is starting to come to terms with the trauma of the past year.
She said: “It’s been a remarkable 12 months. I know it sounds a cliché, but what’s happened to me is a miracle.
“You don’t realise how poorly you are until you feel so much better.
“It’s been a very emotional time, and I do think a lot about the person whose liver I got. They told me it came from a woman and that she was 69. I know it sounds silly, but I’m actually very protective of the organ. I feel like it’s my duty to look after it.”
Susan – mum to Amanda, 33, and Gary, 30 – wants others to realise the importance of signing the NHS Organ Donor Register.
“Look at what it’s done for me,” she said. “I’ve got a second chance, something I never thought I’d have.
“I would just urge people, if they can, to sign up. It’s the greatest gift they could ever give.”