My name is Ashley and I am 27 years old thanks to my donor. I was born with an incurable heart disease. At the age of eight, I was really weak and I could not even lift myself from the bed nor was I able to speak. I remember screaming and crying at the snap of the nurses’ turnkey. I was told at the age of five that I would need a heart transplant. I was scared simply because even at such a young age I was aware that I may die while waiting for a heart. I told my mum that it was okay for me to die because I could look after grandma in heaven. However, I received the precious gift of life from a very unselfish family’s decision to give their daughter’s organs to recipients in need. At first the family was not aware of who received their daughter’s heart but at their daughter’s memorial service, they came to hear about my story from a woman who knew about my surgery, and how it had saved my life. With this special gift I am now able to achieve and do all the things I never thought I could possibly do.
I decided because I had to grow up so fast and did not get a chance to be a kid that I would want to work with children. I now am a special needs children’s hairdresser and this career is dear to my heart as I can relate with the kids that I work with. I know what it’s like to be scared as I can sense it. I calm them down because I just remember being a kid myself and always being constantly scared of what may happen next. Is this person going to hurt me or be a nice person? I say death is a peaceful grieving process and not all sadness… your heart may ache and be heavy at first to the point that you feel that you cannot go on. But sadness should be felt for the families who do not get to take their loved ones home because they have lost their battle while waiting for a transplant. Patients who are constantly in and out of the hospital, with endless doctor visits, having numerous medications, reliant on machines to live day to day and on a daily basis have been poked and prodded to only get sicker and sicker. Let us help these patients; please give the precious gift of life!