My name is Oli Lewington and I’m a transplantee.
All very AA, but that’s the main bit out of the way.
I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF – find out more info here) when I was 18 months old and lived a fairly normal life up until my teens. When I say “normal” I mean many frequent visits to hospital and courses of intra-veinous anti-biotics, which caused discomfort, pain and many other unpleasant side-effects.
CF is a degenerative illness and as I got further into my teens so my health rapidly took a dive. I stayed on a kind of plateau with a lung-function of around 40% for a goodly while into my 20’s when I began work as a creative practitioner, assisting with Youth Theatre workshops and starting to write.
By 2005, when I turned 23, my health had dropped to a lung-function hovering just about the teens. That meant I was blowing roughly 20% what a man my age and height should have been able to blow. I was placed on the Transplant list for two new lungs and told I had about 2 years left to live.
In November 2007, 17 months after being placed on the transplant list and probably mere weeks away from death, I received the call that would change my life forever. Someone, somewhere had made the decision to give me life after their death and their family had consented. I was rushed to Harefield Hospital in Middlesex where I underwent a 7-hour operation.
As I recovered I realised that I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by. Somewhere in the country a family had suffered a terrible, terrible loss and I was only alive thanks to their generosity. I vowed to myself to do everything I could to pursue my dreams. This is the continuation of the pursuit – live and as it happens.