Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Life-saving surgery allowed Ena to meet her grandson

Ena Mitchell and her grandson Charlie (Rob Gray)
Ena Mitchell and her grandson Charlie (Rob Gray)

IT was one of the most important years of Ena Mitchell’s life.

In 2013, within months of undergoing life-saving surgery, she became a grandmother for the first time to little Charlie, now three.

“It was certainly an emotional rollercoaster, and I feel incredibly lucky to be here,” the 51-year-old said. “And to be able to spend time with my grandson.

“Without the transplant, I might not have been here to meet him.”

Ena, from Yarrow Valley in the Borders, discovered she needed a liver transplant six years after being diagnosed with Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC).

The condition is caused when the immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the bile ducts in the liver.

Ena’s late father Bill had the same disease but, as it’s not hereditary, she never thought she would get it too.

Symptoms included extreme tiredness and weight loss and Ena’s skin became jaundiced.

The mum-of-three spent 50 long days on the transplant list, waiting for a suitable donor to be found.

“Every time the phone went, I thought, ‘This might be it!’

“I was very ill by that point, incredibly tired and sleeping for about 20 hours a day.

“The transplant completely changed my life.”

Four months after surgery, Ena climbed Ben Nevis to raise funds for the PBC Foundation.

“I feel healthier – and have so much more energy,” said Ena. “And it couldn’t have come at a better time now that I’m a granny!”

She added: “It’s just amazing how an organ donation can turn people’s lives around, and I speak from experience.

“But I’m only half of the story. Without the organ donors or their families, there would be no transplants – and recipients like me are truly grateful.”

Ena knows very little about her donor – a Scottish woman slightly younger than herself. “Not a day goes by without me thinking of the poor family who lost a loved one,” said Ena. “If she wasn’t registered as a donor, I might not be here today so she has saved a life.

“I wrote a thank you letter to her family.

“It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever written.

“It was important for me to let them know how life-changing receiving the liver has been but it must have been hard to read because, at the end of the day, I only got the liver because she didn’t make it.”

Realising there was little support for people going through the same thing, Ena and three friends have set up their own charity – Liver Transplant Support UK.

The group hopes to support transplant recipients, as well as their families and carers, while raising awareness of the benefits of organ donation.

“Who better to highlight organ donation than someone who received one?” said Ena.

You can contact the group by emailing livertransplantuk@gmail.com


READ MORE

Mum sheds tears of joy after cancer drug U-turn

Complex heart surgery performed while little Jessica was still in the womb