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Diana's story

Diana Higman

Diana had a liver transplant on 14th September 2008 after being told she had acute liver failure. This was caused by Autoimmune Hepatitis, a condition where the immune system attacks the vital organs.

Liver failure caused the toxins in Diana’s blood to affect her brain to the point where she could no longer write her own name. She was admitted to hospital and as her symptoms worsened, she could not remember where she was or why she was there and she missed her family desperately.

Diana said:
"I now know it was the toxins in my blood affecting my brain. Then within days, I was told I needed a liver transplant – it was all so surreal."

After a couple of false alarms, a suitable donor for Diana was found. Diana found the experience very emotional as she tried to come to terms with the fact that someone who was going to die would be the person who could save her life.

"Words cannot explain those emotions, dealing with the fact that someone is losing their fight for life whilst I was being given a chance of survival. How the family of the donor are coping, how they’re dealing with their grief. My heartfelt thanks go out to the donor and their family every single day."

Whilst she was recovering in hospital following her transplant, Diana decided to become involved with Transplant Sport UK (TSUK) which gave her a sense of purpose which she felt she needed at that point in her recovery. She started off tentatively in the swimming pool and then progressed onto cycling, something she had regularly enjoyed before she had fallen ill. Very soon, Diana was racing and competed in the first UK transplant games, winning a silver medal.

Diana enjoys competing, not just because it makes her feel fit and healthy, but because it gives her the opportunity to promote organ donation which she has always supported:

"I have always been on the organ donor register but never did I think that I would myself need an organ! But thanks to my donor and their family, I have been given a second chance to see my 3 girls grow up and see them married or what ever they decide to do with their lives."

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