July 20, 2008

Transplant Child to a Prom Queen

By johnny birkin

A Teenager who was given only 72 hours to live during an infant illness has celebrated leaving school in style.

Kim and Tony Simpson, of Hobson Drive, Spondon, said the special day for their 16-year-old daughter, Emma, was one they had feared they would never see.

As Emma celebrated the end of her time at West Park School, in Spondon, with friends at their prom night last night, her parents urged people to register as organ donors to help save lives like their daughter's.

Mrs Simpson said: "Every mum is happy to see their daughter going to a prom - but I look at Emma and I am just so proud that she is able to go.

"We are immensely proud of her. Emma is such a good girl, she's just like any other teenager. She's been every parent's dream."

At 10 months, Emma caught a virus that triggered a strain of hepatitis, causing her liver to fail.

At one point, doctors gave her 72 hours to live, but a donor was found in time and Emma was given a life-saving transplant operation at Birmingham Children's Hospital in 1993.

Mother-of-four Mrs Simpson, 43, said: "At the time of Emma's transplant, we feared we might never see her get here - we never dared to look that far ahead.

"It is so hard to put into words how important being a donor is but, without them, we would be without our daughter."

Since her transplant, Emma has been on medication to control her immune system. She has to have blood tests every four months and sees a consultant twice a year.

Now she has completed her GCSE exams and is hoping to go to Derby College's Joseph Wright Centre to study photography, media and English language, and dreams of starting her own wedding photography company.

Emma said: "I'm really looking forward to the graduation ball and going in the limousine.

"There's about 200 of my school friends going to the ball and it might be the last time we're all together."

Mrs Simpson and her 47-year-old husband are now registered donors. Their other children - Tanya, 20, Richard, 18 and Adam, 17 - also carry donor cards.

And Emma said she was overjoyed to be able to help people by being on the organ donor register.

She said: "I'm glad to be a donor because it makes me feel that I can help somebody live like someone helped me."

For more information, visit www.uktransplant.org.uk or call 0845 6060 400.

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