A dance teacher who received a double lung transplant 13 months ago completed 13 miles of the Great North Run at the weekend in tribute to the donor who saved her life.
Just over a year ago Sharee McPhail, of Moser Avenue, Swain House , Bradford, was desperately ill and even the simplest of tasks such as washing her hair or cooking a meal were impossible for her.
Sharee, 28, was born with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a genetic disease which progressively damages the lungs. By the end of 2010 her lungs were so badly affected she was told that she would die without a double lung transplant.
In August 2011 she received a phone call that saved her life. She had a transplant at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, receiving the lungs of a 55-year-old woman in an eight-hour operation.
The transplant gave her back her life and in May she took part in the Manchester 10k and completed her first half-marathon on Sunday in a time of three hours and 45 minutes, raising around £1,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust at the same time.
She ran the course in Newcastle with Matthew McArdle who used to be a physio in the unit where she was treated. Her boyfriend, Mark Tingle, was there to add his support.
“I am 13 months post-transplant this month and the transplant was done in Newcastle so I wanted to mark the occasion,” she said.
“I did one mile for every month post-transplant.
“I wanted to give something back and raise awareness of organ donation and show what a difference it does make to people’s lives. It was a thank-you to the donor and her family because without them it would not have been possible.”
Sharee has been able to correspond directly with the family to thank them personally and to let them know what the donation means to her. The family has in turn replied with some information about the woman whose decision to become an organ donor saved Sharee’s life.
“It is nice to know what life they had and what they enjoyed doing,” added Sharee.
“Obviously it was nice to thank the family personally. I told them I was doing the Great North Run in memory of my donor and they wanted to sponsor me.
“I was quite humbled – their generosity continues.”
There is still time to sponsor Sharee by visiting justgiving.com/ living-the-impossible-dream Sharee said: “I want to use the gift of life that I so gratefully received to help others in my situation.
“Cystic fibrosis is a cruel disease that takes far too many young lives so please help me to make a difference.”