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Transplant patient Vicky urges others to save a life

Published 04/09/2017

A patient from the Royal Derby Hospital who recovered from a double transplant to win an international karate competition has thanked the donor that saved her life.

Today marks the start of National Organ Donation Week and after being a lucky recipient herself, Vicky Murphy is appealing to others to sign up to the donor register to give the gift of life to someone else.  

She said: “I never had the chance to meet my donor but I am so thankful to them. I’d definitely recommend that people add their name to the donor list. You’ve got to think to yourself ‘would you like to receive an organ if you were in need?’ You’d literally be saving a life.” 

A total of 57 residents from across Derbyshire received a transplant last year, although hundreds of transplants are still being missed nationwide every year because families didn’t know what their relatives wanted before they passed away.

Dr Marco Giovannelli, clinical lead for organ donation at Derby Teaching Hospitals, said: “We’re proud to support National Organ Donation Week and it’s really easy for other people to take part – they just need to have a chat with their loved ones. That chat might be the next time they sit down for a meal, when they are shopping or working, or when they are just driving their car. There are around 7,000 people on the register and three of them die every day whilst waiting for a donor. We’re asking people to think seriously about signing up and to have a conversation with their families to let them know your wishes. I would ask everyone to have that conversation and sign up if they are able to.”

Vicky Murphy was recently left feeling at the top of the world after winning a gold medal at the AMA International Karate Championships to qualify for next year’s world championships. 

Eight years earlier and she was forced to deal with a much different set of emotions though, as she spent her 36th birthday connected to a dialysis machine when doctors told her that her kidneys were failing. 

Vicky, now 43, was lucky enough to only spend two months on the transplant list before a donor was found and she received a new kidney and pancreas.

She still attends the Royal Derby for a check-up every six months and has appealed for people to help others realise their dreams by signing up to the register. 

She said: “I’m one of the lucky ones. I felt so guilty speaking to other patients that had been waiting for a transplant for months and months. I couldn’t believe that I found a donor so quick. I’m so thankful and it’s down to the care that I received at the Renal Unit in Derby and the team in Cambridge that I am where I am today. It’s been totally life changing and now I just can’t wait to go to the world championships. It’d be a dream come true to win.”

Vicky, from Derby, has taken giant strides since her life-saving operation, with her gold medal representing her first ever tournament win going into next June’s world finals in Dundee, Scotland. 

Last Modified 04/09/2017