A new Mansfield councillor who had a lung transplant in her battle against cystic fibrosis has relived the moment she met her donor’s family for the first time.
Councillor Sinead Anderson, Conservative member for Eakring on Mansfield District Council, had five set-backs when waiting for her transplant after being told at the last minute about problems with donated organs.
On each occasion she was transported to a transplant centre at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge – only to be told she would be unable to have the surgery.
But in December 2016, Coun Anderson’s luck turned when she was told there was a match – the lungs of a 33-year-old woman from St Helens.
Though not entirely successful, Coun Anderson’s operation meant she had the lungs of Holly Moriarty, who died on December 18, 2016, who died after an unsuccessful operation at Blackburn Royal Hospital.
And speaking on the 70th birthday of the NHS last year, Coun Anderson’s story was discovered by Holly’s family – leading to the councillor meeting her mum and dad Harlia and Dave Givens.
Coun Anderson said: “Meeting them was very overwhelming. They are amazing people and their daughter was an incredible person.
“She gave a lot to charity and in particular a lot to support cystic fibrosis research, so I think it’s very fitting that I have got her lung.
“She was a very determined person and I can feel that determination in me.
“It’s not been easy since the transplant, I’ve had battles with pneumonia recently and there was a few complications with surgery but I can feel that strength and determination from Holly getting me through it.
“I think meeting me gave them some comfort. Her mum says we are very similar and that she can see her in me, and that it gave her some peace of mind.
“We’ve met each other a few times now and we’re planning on meeting again.
Ms Givens said meeting the Mansfield councillor helped her “quite a lot”.
She told the St Helens Star: “It was very emotional. Sinead has had a very tough life with cystic fibrosis.
“It’s helped me quite a lot because I feel like Holly’s still alive, even if I can’t see her.
“Her and Holly have so many similar traits, it was unbelievable. They’re both really strong women and both have gone through so much, and they also both had diabetes.
“It was a surreal experience but it has made it a lot easier. I said if Holly could have picked anyone to have her lungs, she’d have picked her.”