Jussie sails with Clipper 11-12

Jussie sails with Clipper 11-12
I sailed the last leg (8) in 2012 - USA,Nova Scotia,Ireland,Netherlands & UK. Travelling 4,000 miles, approx 22 days at sea, with 4 races in this leg.

Monday, 30 December 2013


And so 2013 is almost over, so I decided to reflect on my year - hence the title Reflections. It's been a roller coaster full of life in the fast lane and trying to keep well.

A year at Essex Boot Camp, and taking on many outdoor activity challenges/days out (all to which I have previous journalled about).

I have just recently over the last month started to train in running, towards my first ever half marathon in March next year. I had a breakthrough too and achieving a mile continuous in 17 minutes - it's only taken me 18.5 years to do this. This is broken down by 10 years ill on/off, 1.5 years waiting for my transplant, and 7 years post transplant building on my fitness, ongoing health issues. Running is always something I have struggled with - with my breathing. But, I am very positive and determined, and never stop trying to pursue.

Also, this year saw me return home from Durban in South Africa, from the World Transplant Games with two bronze medals.

photo taken by Chris Rushton Essex Chronicle photographer
My goals for 2014 have already been typed up in my last blog entry - so if you fancy seeing what mischief/challenges I have set myself for next year, please do. But, no doubt this list will grow, and it has since I last wrote up this journal.

Thoughts go out to my friends who have gained their angels wings, especially to an amazing lady called, Nicola who inspired me. Nicola was 24 years post double lung and heart transplant. Below is a photo of us taken way back in 2009 at one of Harefield Hospital's fun raiser days. I have many pics, but decided to use this one.
Nicola was a great help to me when I had my own struggles post transplant, as it isn't a cure and there are/can be many other medical/emotional/mental issues to deal with after surgery. I had someone to talk too who understood my complications. It was a very sad day to hear of Nicola's passing recently, and it was also a great loss to the transplant community.

Transplantation isn't a cure, but, it extends life and one that I especially do not take for granted and every day/breath I wake up to, is a bonus. I have lost many friends whose journey has ended, but, it's a lesson I say time and time again.... we all should live life for today and don't wait 5 years to do something. If you have a dream/goal/something to aspire too - try and reach out as soon as you can/feasible. Who knows what is a round the corner for any of us!

It is amazing that on July 9th 2014, I will be reaching my 8th year post double lung transplant!! Not long to go and I have a hospital check up in March ('14) aslong as all stays well prior to that.

It is almost bitter sweet, when one person looses their battle and another person lives on through consenting to be on the Organ Donor Register. But,  when your body is at rest - you do not need your organs in heaven. They can save a life, like it did mine. If you still haven't become a donor please open this link How to become an Organ Donor

Some facts on Organ Donation (taken from NHS Organ Donation website)
  • You are more likely to need a transplant than become a donor.
  • A donor can donate a heart, lungs, two kidneys, pancreas, liver and small bowel and can restore the sight of two people by donating their corneas.
  • Donors can also give bone and tissue such as skin, heart valves and tendons. Skin grafts have helped people with severe burns and bone is used in orthopaedic surgery.
  • The age of people who have donated organs after their death has changed in the past decade with more aged over 50 and fewer younger donors. Older donors are less likely to be able to donate as many of their organs as younger people, as some organs may become less suitable for transplantation as people age. But organs from people in their 70s and 80s can be transplanted successfully.
So, taking that all into account - please also express your wishes to your next of kin too, so they are aware of this. Many thanks. Ok ok no more on this passionate subject deep rooted to me.

Now......massive gratitude to all and everyone - my parents, family, friends who have continued to support me.  Lots of love to my Mum and Dad, always there for me and extremely supportive.

To all at EBC, and the directors James and Glynn who have encouraged/helped me along with all the other instructors to grow and build confidence in my fitness abilities. Below, I am being awarded by James and Glynn, Most Inspirational Member (2013). Please also check their website if you live in Essex or fancy getting your corporate firm involved, and see what other services are on offer with EBC  Essex Boot Camp's Website

It has been life changing for me in many ways, and not just helping me in my health but making so many wonderful friends and EBC is like a family :)

James and Glynn EBC Directors
Christmas Party EBC
Below now are also some of my favourite photos over the year. I have perhaps hundreds and hundreds (thousands...lol) ..so, I have tried to put some here to depict highlights for me in 2013.

Family shot my Birthday (February)

National Lottery Run:Catherine,Jo,Maureen,Lara

National Lottery 5mile Run

Having fun on my Birthday

Celebrating 7years post transplant!


Natalie,Mark and I

Lactic Rush with EBC

Pre-World Transplant Games promo photo

Teletubby fun Eating Clean regime with Tracey,Jade,Janine


EBC sponsors at World Transplant Games,South Africa

Capturing my moment in Durban,South Africa

Collage of outdoor & EBC photos

Promoting the cause ;)
Well, there we have it. Is this perhaps my shortest write up, with the biggest amount of going on's for 2013!? If you do prefer to read more about my year in details - then best to get a big cuppa tea/wine and a few yummy biscuits and sit back and scroll backwards to read all about it!

I wish everyone a great New Year's Eve, and a beautiful year ahead as we all approach 2014. May it bring everything and more and good health. May my friends still waiting for transplants, wait not much longer, and those poorly to get better soon.

Enjoy your life, be grateful, and live your life!! Oh and my book is still in progress - I will get there, just it's very painful re-living experiences and writing about them. I hope to either finish my book next year or get a large chunk of it finished. If anyone knows of a publisher too - please let me know. Many thanks.

Lotsa Love to you all xxxx

Always Smiling and Always Will

Red :) x