Making her donor proud
Earlier this year, Cat Walsh was gifted a second chance at life. Cat had a kidney and pancreas transplant after her kidney function reached critically low levels. She was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD) caused by type 1 diabetes.
Living as a diabetic since age seven and having the “it’ll never happen to me” mindset, Cat was left in absolute shock when told she had CKD and needed a transplant.
Now 42, Cat can finally say goodbye to insulin injections. She is approaching her six-month transplant anniversary and has officially checked out of the diabetic clinic thanks to her donor pancreas, which is regulating the insulin she needs.
More shattering news came when she was told her kidney function had dropped to a terrifying six per cent. She was put on peritoneal dialysis and placed as ‘active’ on the donor recipient waiting list. Four months later, Cat got the call that would save her life.
Very early one morning Cat sceptically answered a phone call.
When she heard the news she had a donor match she couldn’t quite believe it. Overwhelmed and inconveniently attached to her overnight dialysis machine, she began the surreal rush to get to the hospital.
After tearfully calling her mum and best friend to tell them the news, Cat’s tears continued throughout the journey to the hospital, right up to the moment the anaesthetist held her hand before surgery.
Before her transplant, Cat was constantly exhausted, she struggled to bend down to empty the dishwasher and feed her cat. Leaving the house to get to her many medical appointments was a relentless challenge - she always had to leave early to allow extra time for rest stops.
After her transplant, it was a big day for Cat the first time she was able to walk down Commercial Road to The Alfred without stopping to rest. Now, she is back to work as a chef and has a new attitude towards life.
“My new life motto is - do something every day to make your donor proud.”
“You can’t take your organs with you. They’re no good to you once you’re gone - but you can give someone a second chance at living.”
Grateful beyond words, Cat has not yet been able to condense her appreciation into a letter to her donor’s family.
“Thank you. Straight up thank you. The letter is coming but I can’t find the words to thank you, the way I want to thank you.”