A Wigan widow whose wife died shortly after she had a heart transplant is urging people to sign the register during Organ Donation week.
Celli Taylor, from Worsley Hall, lost her wife Claire Taylor (née Farrimond) in September 2017 after she battled numerous infections for months following the gruelling operation.
The 39-year-old, who married her sweetheart at Freeman hospital in Newcastle a month before her operation, is fully backing national Organ Donation week and is encouraging everyone to use the opportunity to give the gift of life.
“It’s such an important time of the year,” said Celli. “It’s a chance to raise more awareness of signing the register.
“There might have been some people who missed it last year and sign up this year.
“When people see faces and hear stories about those affected, it makes it more real to them. It’s so vitally important that people consider the generous act of donation.
“It’s not only adults that require transplants, it’s children and babies too.”
Claire and Celli had been together for around seven years when Claire underwent the surgery - which she only had a one in three chance of surviving due to a previous procedure she had undergone.
The former Pemberton High School student suffered from hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning that the left side of her heart was non-existent.
There was hope when Claire went in for her operation in July 2017, despite the overwhelming concern that she was at greater risk due to her previous surgeries.
“Claire was so brave and underwent one of the hardest if not the hardest transplant they can do,” added Celli.
“The outcome was bleak, but she bravely fought it. On top of that, which is traumatic as it is, because of her previous surgeries, it was very dangerous just to open her up.”
Celli stayed by her new wife’s side as she fought off numerous infections following her surgery.
“She got an infection in her groin which turned into sepsis,” said Celli. “She started getting better and then she got a chest infection.
“She was starting to heal then she would get knocked back by infections. Every time she seemed to get better something happened. Just when you thought you had turned a corner, another bumpy road came along.”
“I know it didn’t work for Claire - but she had to have it or she wouldn’t have survived anyway. It gave her a chance.”
The couple met in 2004 at Manchester Pride, but it was not until five years later that they officially became an item.
They would have been celebrating their eighth anniversary this year.
Celli, who has been devastated by Claire’s death, said that she would not change anything as it gave her soulmate a chance of survival.
“You only get one chance at a soul mate,” said Celli. “And I have lost mine. Going through something like this, it’s just not a battle for the person who has had the transplant. It’s a battle to stay positive in front of them.
“You see them so poorly but you have to keep it together.
“You have to do it for them because if they see you falling to pieces they know something is wrong.
“I would urge anyone at all to consider signing the register. There are so many people out there every single day fighting with everything they’ve got.
“The people who do receive transplants are so so grateful for what they have been given, they treat it so preciously.
“They are so thankful that they really take care of themselves. Someone who has had a transplant can go on to enjoy most, if not the rest of their lives.”
Organ Donation week is running from September 2 to 8. To sign the Organ Donor register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk