'I think of my donor all the time,' says grateful young mother whose double lung transplant has given her a second chance at life
Mother of two Natalie Kerr, 31, spent Christmas 2011 hooked up to an oxygen machineFormer nurse was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension four years agoPotentially fatal condition means blood and oxygen can't get to the lungs
But her life was saved thanks to a double lung transplant

By
Emily Payne

PUBLISHED:

15:43 GMT, 2 January 2013

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UPDATED:

15:43 GMT, 2 January 2013

Just over a year ago, Natalie Kerr thought her two young children would be spending this Christmas without her.

She was so unwell on Christmas Day 2011 that she was physically unable to hand her son and daughter their presents while she sat on the sofa attached to an oxygen machine.

But thanks to an organ donor and a successful operation, Natalie, 31, was able to celebrate this year with 10-year-old Brandon and four-year-old Isabelle.

Natalie Kerr with her children Isabelle, four, and Brandon, ten, and new puppy Coco Bella. She feared she won't be alive this Christmas after developing a fatal lung condition

Natalie Kerr with her children Isabelle, four, and Brandon, ten, and new puppy Coco Bella. She feared she won't be alive this Christmas after developing a fatal lung condition

Since her transplant, the former nurse, from Bolton, has made the most of every moment.

Natalie, who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension four years ago, said: 'It was my first Christmas being well with Isabelle and the first time I could properly enjoy it with her.

'If I hadn't have had my new lungs then I wouldn't be here now. I was getting the presents wrapped early for last Christmas in case I was going to die.

'I was so poorly I knew I couldn't go on. I was no use to anybody.

'I was sitting there with my oxygen mask on watching them open presents and I couldn't even help them put things together.The kids didn't know any different, really.

Natalie Kerr in hospital after her double lung transplant

Natalie Kerr after her double lung transplant

Natalie Kerr in hospital last February after her double lung transplant

'I just smiled and carried on. What
kept me going was hoping that I would get new lungs and all the time I
was constantly thinking about getting better.'

Since having her operation, Natalie,
from Adlington, near Bolton, has amazed doctors
with her progress and she now has check-ups every three months.

She has been making the most of being
well and has celebrated Bonfire Night and Halloween with the children,
and got a new puppy, a chocolate Labrador.

All clear: Thanks a successful operation Natalie was given a second chance

All clear: Thanks a successful operation Natalie was given a second chance

The family also went on holiday to
Spain, though Natalie had to fly back home and go straight to intensive
care at Wythenshawe Hospital after just one day abroad when she began to
struggle to breathe.

She said this Christmas has been extra special and that she enjoyed shopping and taking the children to see Father Christmas for the first time.

She said: 'The kids were so excited and I couldn't wait to decorate the house and get the Christmas music on.'

Another highlight was the pantomime at Bolton Albert Halls.

It is an annual tradition for the family but Natalie says this time the children were excited because they could 'sit where they wanted'. Last she was in a wheelchair.

She hosted more than 10 members of her family on Christmas Day after making a deal the previous year that if she got new lungs she would cook.

Natalie said she thinks of her donor every day and wants to encourage others to sign the donor register to help others.

She said: 'If the lady who gave me her lungs could see how much she has changed my life I think she would be very happy.

'If only she could see the smiles on my kids' faces.

'Brandon wrote me a letter today and it said “I love you mummy and I am so happy that you have got new lungs”. I think of her all the time.'