KIDNEY transplant patient Holly Shaw, of Warrington, has graduated from the University of Cheshire.
Just 18 months before starting her Early Childhood Studies at the university’s Warrington campus, Holly fell ill after suffering End Stage Renal Failure, a diagnosis which dramatically changed her life.
She had to undergo kidney dialysis three times a week for three hours, and worked hard to fit her studies around her treatment and its associated side effects.
Three-and-a-half years later she received a phone call offering her the chance to have a kidney transplant. During her time on the waiting list, Holly set up the Gift of Life campaign, which has achieved national prominence, and the backing of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Holly said: “I really enjoyed my Early Childhood Studies degree. Sometimes it was a struggle fitting my workload in with my hospital visits, but my lecturers were all very understanding.
“To be told that you must be attached to a dialysis machine three times a week to keep you alive is devastating, but thankfully my story has a happy ending. Thanks to the generosity of the donor and their family, my life has changed and I can do normal, everyday things that most people take for granted.”
She said she feels “very lucky” and is determined to keep campaigning and fighting for others.
She said: “Organ donation is a topic I feel passionate about and I am thrilled that I have this opportunity to get the word out there. I’m eternally grateful for my gift of life, and intend to live life to the full now that I have been given a second chance.”
She is due to win a national award for volunteering. She continues campaigning to promote organ donation and has appeared on television to promote it.
Holly is also continuing to be an advocate for the Live Life Then Give Life charity. She will celebrate one year since her transplant just days after her graduation, by taking part in a charity abseil at Leasowe Lighthouse for the charity. Anyone who wants to sponsor her should visit www.justgiving.com/LLTGL-abseil