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Friday, 28 February 2014

Gone But Not Forgotten

Thanks to having a life saving transplant I am now happily living on 'borrowed time'. Unfortunately I am one of the lucky ones that not only got a donor in time but survived the surgery. I know MANY people and friends who weren't as fortunate as myself.

Francois Kruger 

9.05.1989 - 21.10.2012

Francois was the very first friend with cystic fibrosis I ever had. He was very shy but just the nicest human being. He finally had his transplant at the beginning of 2010 and for about a year he lived the normal life he had waited so long for. Then he started to develop rejection and gradually became more and more ill. He spent the last year of his life in hospital, dodging death a number of times. It was an awful end to his story but when asked if he regretted having a transplant he didn't hesitate to say, "I had the best year of my life and have no regrets."

Ninette 'Nini' Smith  

18.02.1989 - 23.09.2012

Ninette was a very bubbly and friendly young lady who's laugh kept the hospital ward warm. She had one very bad lung and one 'ok' lung and so the doctors gave her the option of removing one lung in the hopes that she would at least spend less time in hospital. This meant that she would always have one lung and would only be able to have a single lung transplant as opposed to a double. Ninette seriously thought about this decision but her heart wanted to have TWO new lungs. The day before her decision was due, they found her a double lung donor in October 2011. Amazing!! She had a very tough time during transplant and spent 3 months in ICU. This was all too much for her body and she passed away a year later. 

Whilst Ninette was still waiting for lungs her and Francois started dating. It was a true Romeo and Juliet story. Doctors weren't too fond of the idea because of cross infections but they saw how happy the two made each other and left it at that. Their relationship was the sort you see in movies. They were both desperately ill but visited each other as much as they could, even in ICU. Like the Shakespeare classic, this love story didn't have a happy ending. I know they are both together in heaven and would not have changed a thing while they were here. 

Helen Ward

2.02.1988 - 22.01.2012

Helen was based in Cape Town so I only had the opportunity to meet her once. We bonded instantly and chatted often for years. She had been on the waiting list for 4 years when she finally got her call in December 2011. Helen's health was relatively good as far as transplant candidates go so we were all expecting a smooth recovery. This was not the case. She fought as hard as she could but her body just couldn't recover from the surgery. This was a huge shock to us all and scared a lot of people waiting for transplant. The general feeling was, "If HELEN couldn't do it, how can we?" But every one is different and as strong as Helen physically and mentally was, her body just didn't react well to the procedure. I miss my chats with her and her quirky humor!

Dominique Truyens

18.04.1990 - 7.04.2012

Dom was my 'hospital sister'. She was always in room 18 and I was in 16, thus our nicknames for each other.... '18' and '16' ;) My hospital stays really were made a million times better when Dom was there. We were both usually too sick to visit each other much but spent our days sending messages like 'Did you hear that?' , 'OMG look down the passage QUICKLY'. 'Great it's THAT nurse on duty again today.' Whenever one of us was discharged we would hate leaving the other one behind. We encouraged each other constantly and for me Dom was one of my major sources of support. We both struggled with our weight and to this day she will be the only one who will ever understand what I have gone through with my weight. Dom was on the transplant list but due to her failing health she did not receive a donor in time. I miss her more than words can explain, I am truly taking her along with me in my thoughts. She never got to experience what I am now but I know she is watching over me and I hope that I can make her just a little bit proud. *tears*

Dom had a comic called 'Patient Zero'. She had so many funny comic strips, here are 2 of them, featuring myself. 

Dom's last tweet was "Such a bad week behind me... hope it only gets better going forward!! Need to stay strong and focused in getting healthy and gaining weight." A true reflection of her strength! To read more of her tweets find her on twitter @truedominique. I've read her timeline a million times, it makes me smile =) 

As you can see 2012 was an awful year for me, losing so many friends. Thankfully 2013 was around the corner and my successful transplant was some much needed good news in the Cystic Fibrosis community.

Celine Dion's niece, Karine, had cystic fibrosis and she died in Celine's arms in 1993 at the age of 16. Celine then went on to dedicate this song to Karine. If you aren't sniffling yet then press play and queue the water works!

PLEASE sign up as an organ donor HERE 



  1. These amazing human beings will never be forgotten... You made me cry now as well... :(

    1. So many other amazing people I didn't mention. I'll always treasure the time I had with these special friends xx

    2. This is Ninette's dad.... she was indeed as you described, such a special litlle lady and as she often descirbed herself... the apple of my eye... much to the distress of both her sisters haha. Thank you for sharing Ninette and Francois in such a special and sensitive way. You deserve those lungs and deserve to live. You must make the most of life!! Make it count.

    3. Thank-you so much. Ninette brought so much light and happiness into the world. I am so glad I had the pleasure of knowing her!

  2. Such wonderful, inspiring young people who have left a lasting legacy of strength and tenacity. You are one of the strongest, most beautiful young people I have met, Fawn. Keep smiling that wonderful smile of yours and keep up the good work. We are all behind you, all the way. XXX

    1. Thank-you for the kind words! I'm so glad that through all my hard times I got to meet such wonderful people. They keep me humble and remind me that life is precious and that I'm SO LUCKY to be here. xx

  3. A great peek at some really strong individuals. Their lives will never be forgotten.


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