Kirstie thanks her donor for making it all possible
DOUBLE lung transplant survivor Kirstie Tancock's thoughts on completing a gruelling charity cycle ride just a year after her life-saving operation were not of self-glory or personal gratification.
As she crossed the finish line with her team of 17 riders at Harefield Hospital – the place where she clung to life just long enough for her new lungs to arrive – her mind was fully occupied by the donor who gave her a second chance in life and made such an achievement possible.
Such motivation was enough to keep Kirstie pedalling through the pain during the 180 mile ride that started outside the gates of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
After crossing the finishing line three days later, the 22-year-old from Honiton, said: "I feel so proud of myself, but more so of my team, my nurses and doctors, friends and family. Also the support of the Cann family was the driving force behind us, they kept us safe and moving.
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"But I think in all the most amazing person in all of this is my donor and their family. Having my very close friend Dave, whose sister passed away at only 23 and donated, I know how hard donation can be, but also how helpful it can be for them to. I have so much respect and admiration for them and constantly thought of my donors generosity that made it all possible.
"I just hope we can help save more lives like my own and it was a huge reminder when we got to Harefield and I met a girl just like myself, three weeks post double lung transplant due to cystic fibrosis.
"This is why we did this, to save lives like her – and like my own."
Kirstie, who was born with cystic fibrosis, has gone on to become a leading campaigner and advocate of organ donation.
The ride itself retraced the journey that Kirstie had made by air ambulance after being given the option of being made comfortable for her final few days in Exeter or travel to Harefield in the hope a last minute transplant may be available.
Despite some concern in the build-up to the event whether she would be well enough to take part, she said afterwards: "I feel amazing, my body ached the most after the first day but after that everything went pretty smoothly.
"The third day was amazing, its like suddenly all your aches and pains were gone and you just spun on. At the end you feel like you can keep going."
To sponsor Kirstie visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/kirstiesbigbreathbikeride