On Friday 15th September, one week ago, Nicola Liddell was driving her daughter, Sophie, home from sitting her driving theory test. The mood in the car was sombre as, unfortunately, the test hadn’t gone as Sophie had hoped. But then, at 12.05pm, the phone rang.
The voice on the other side of the line said, “Mrs Liddell, are you driving, can you pull over please?”
“Mrs Liddell, we have a kidney for you. Can you come to the hospital for your transplant today?”
The overall feeling in the car completely changed for them both. It is a feeling they will never forget. Nicola explained:
“If I could bottle that feeling and sell it, I would be a millionaire. I was on top of the world. I was excited. I don’t think I got time to get nervous because it all happened so quick. But I just kept saying, ‘oh my god’. I must have said that about forty times. I don’t think I said anything else,” she said.
Nicola had been waiting for that call for two years. When Sophie was a toddler, Nicola contracted Meningitis that had an extreme knock-on effect on her body, including impacting her kidneys. Nicola spent years in and out of hospital with multiple issues due to this and it came to a peak in 2018.
“That was the worst year of my life. I spent roughly 10 weeks at home and the rest was in and out of hospital. After that, I was on dialysis and the transplant list.
“My life has been stuck on hold. I was on a hamster wheel for years and felt as if I was never ever going to get off it. I had been a few years on dialysis, and I just tried to stay positive, be optimistic and hoped for a donation,” she said.
A few days after her transplant, Nicola was sitting up and feeling better. She understands that it’s not always that straightforward for everyone, but wants to demonstrate to anyone considering kidney donation, the immediate impact that they can have on someone’s life.
“I feel good considering its only day four. I know that it’s early days, but I feel fine within myself. I don’t know what I expected to feel like but I’m not as in as much pain as I anticipated. Yeah, I’m sore and I’m tender but I’m alright.
“I’m looking forward to not having to get any more dialysis sessions, and to going on holiday, and to not worry about where am I going to get dialysis, or will my daughter be okay when I’m away getting dialysis. The whole extra baggage, all the medication, and everything that we needed to take before, is no longer needed,” she said.
Nicola has a message to anyone considering organ and tissue donation.
“Please, please consider organ donation. Because it can be a massive, massive life change for somebody like me. I was lucky. I got a match. Not everybody does. The more people that donate, the better chance people have got at a normal chance of life,” she said.
Nicola will always be grateful for her donor and their family.
“To the family whose kidney that I got, words couldn’t describe what I would ever say if I ever the chance to meet you. But I’ll always be eternally grateful and I’m so thankful. I’ll never forget the person who gave me best chance at life again. A part of them will live on in me and they will be very loved and always looked after to the best of my ability. I’m so thankful,” she said.
Monday 18th September to Sunday 23rd September 2023 is Organ and Tissue Donation Week. People can register their donation decision and find out more at www.organdonation.scot or by calling 0300 123 2323.
Anyone considering a live organ donation to a family member, friend or stranger can visit Living donation | Organ Donation Scotland for more information.