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Jenni from Southmead shares how her transplant inspired her career

Posted on October 2022 By Aaliyah Borgia

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Jenni originally from Southmead expresses how her transplant that took place in October 2015 inspired her to change her career.

The Southmead nurse who currently is a nurse in the Neonatal Care Unit at Southmead Hospital explained how her life-changing surgery not only changed her personal life but also, inspired her to change her career.

She explained as a teenager she was unfortunately diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis. Her immune system was ambushing her own liver and she was heading towards liver failure. Jenni said, “I was started on a cocktail of medications- steroids and immune suppression- but was advised that I would likely need a liver transplant one day.”

“I managed well for a long time on just the medication. I struggled with fatigue and was floored by any illness such as a cold and as someone who wanted to get out and enjoy a busy, active life, this was frustrating. Despite the challenges, I made it through university, studying English and then Business, and even spent two years running my own clothes shop.”

Following that Jenni, moved to Bristol and reduced her hours at work and started to get regular infections which resulted in her getting hospitalised. She said that in early 2015 she met the criteria to be listed for a liver transplant and although that was good news, it was and can be a lengthy process. Jenni was listed in March 2015 and seven months later in October 2015, it took place.

Jenni said “with two bouts of rejection, recovery was tough but after eight months, I was able to start going back to work. It was only really a year later, as I got back to nearly full strength, that I realised how poorly I had been pre-transplant. At this point, I realised that I wanted to give something back to the NHS that had looked after me nearly my whole life and decided to retrain as a paediatric nurse.”

She expressed that whilst having feelings of gratitude her training was tough due to having to work full time as well as challenging Covid.

Jenni added “since my transplant, I have not only been able to retrain to do a job that I love, but I also have more energy to live the full and active life I’d always hoped for. I recently got married to someone I would never have met had my transplant not taken place. I am able to walk my dogs, go wild swimming and travel to places that I would never have seen.”

“I will always be indebted to my donor and her family. I cannot imagine what the family went through but during the toughest of times, they were able to have a conversation and agree to something that has saved my life. The UK now operates an Opt Out organ donation register however, your family still have the final say at the crucial moment so please, let them know your wishes.”